NEW YORK (April 24, 2012) -- Right wing Daniel Alfredsson of the Ottawa Senators, left wing Joffrey Lupul of the Toronto Maple Leafs and left wing Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens are the three finalists for the 2011-12 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is awarded “to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey,” the National Hockey League announced today.
A $2,500 grant from the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA) is awarded annually to the Bill Masterton Scholarship Fund, based in Bloomington, Minnesota, in the name of the Masterton Trophy winner.
The local chapters of the PHWA submitted nominations for the Masterton Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season and the top three vote-getters were designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 20, during the 2012 NHL Awards from Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. The 2012 NHL Awards will be broadcast by NBC Sports Network in the United States and CBC in Canada.
Following are the finalists for the Masterton Trophy, in alphabetical order:
Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa Senators
The NHL's longest-serving captain (1999-2000), Alfredsson returned from off-season back surgery for his 16th NHL campaign and was a key contributor to the Senators' successful Stanley Cup Playoff drive.
Alfredsson was the leading vote-getter among NHL forwards in All-Star balloting, selected by his peers as an All-Star captain and the recipient of a thunderous standing ovation from hometown fans at Scotiabank Place following his two-goal outburst against Team Chara. Alfredsson finished the season with 59 points -- 27 goals, including the 400th regular-season goal of his career, and 32 assists.
Joffrey Lupul, Toronto Maple Leafs
Returning to health after his career had been threatened in 2010 by two back surgeries and a blood infection, Lupul earned a spot on the Maple Leafs' top line and enjoyed the most productive season of his eight-year NHL career. Teaming with wing Phil Kessel to form the highest-scoring duo in the NHL, Lupul did not go more than one game without a point until January and was selected as assistant captain for Team Chara at the NHL All-Star Game. He notched a career-high 67 points in 66 games before a shoulder injury ended his season in early March.
Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens
Pacioretty returned to action this season after missing the team’s last 15 regular-season games and the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2010-11 due to injuries suffered on March 8, 2011 against Boston. The 23-year-old left wing set single-season career highs in goals (33), assists (32), points (65), game-winning goals (five) and shots on goal (286). His 29 even-strength goals ranked fourth in the League. On March 8 at Edmonton, the New Canaan, Connecticut native became the first U.S.-born player in Canadiens history to notch 30 goals in a season.
The trophy was presented by the NHL Writers’ Association in 1968 to commemorate the late Bill Masterton, a player with the Minnesota North Stars who exhibited to a high degree the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey and who died on January 15, 1968.