The Toronto chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has chosen rookie goaltender Jonas Gustavsson
as its nominee for the 2010 Bill Masterton Trophy, awarded for 'perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey'.
Gustavsson faced daunting challenges in his first season in the National Hockey League, some before he'd arrived at training camp. He lost his mother to chronic lung disease just before signing with the Leafs, after his father died four years earlier.
Gustavsson endured a setback on the first day of camp, traced to a heart condition that required an ablation surgery process. After overcoming a groin strain, he was diagnosed with a racing heart en route to a road shutout against the Montreal Canadiens on December 1, which led to a second ablation. Gustavsson was also dealing with a new country, new language, new team and the different NHL rink size and rules. Through it all, he gradually improved his game and was named to the 2010 Swedish Olympic team. He won seven straight starts in March to tie the Leafs’ club record for the longest winning streak by a rookie goaltender. To date, his record is 16-14-9 with a 2.82 GAA and a .904 save percentage.
Recent Masterton nominees from the Leafs include Ian White, Jason Blake (the 2008 Masterton winner), Carlo Colaiacovo, Steve Thomas, Ed Belfour and Joe Nieuwendyk.
Each NHL city's PWHA chapter nominates a Masterton candidate and the winner is chosen from a vote of the entire PHWA at the end of the season. The Masterton is part of the league's televised awards ceremony on June 23.