The Toronto chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has chosen winger Joffrey Lupul
as its nominee for the 2012 Bill Masterton Trophy, awarded for ‘perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey’.
Lupul’s chances at resuming a full NHL career were in doubt at the time of his trade to the Maple Leafs from Anaheim in February of 2011. He had missed the better part of two seasons with two career-threatening back surgeries and a strength-sapping blood infection that further delayed his comeback.
Upon joining the Leafs, he immediately excelled on the first line at the left wing position. He became one of the NHL’s most dominant players from the start of 2011-12. Beginning opening night until mid-January, Lupul did not go more than one game without registering at least a point. Not only did he reach a career-best 54 points, he stayed among the NHL scoring leaders despite upper and lower body injuries and was at 67 points at the time of a severe shoulder injury.
Lupul’s physical play and leadership helped one of the league’s youngest teams stay in playoff contention and aided right winger Phil Kessel
in a career year in goals and centre Tyler Bozak
with a personal best 40-plus points. Lupul was the alternate captain of Team Chara at the NHL All-Star Weekend. Lupul also has a strong off-ice presence in a demanding media market and has bought private boxes for home games at the Air Canada Centre for the Boys and Girls’ Clubs of Canada.
Recent Masterton nominees from Toronto include Jonas Gustavsson
, 2008 winner Jason Blake and Tim Brent. 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 ceremonies June 20 in Las Vegas.