The Toronto chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has chosen defenceman Paul Ranger as its nominee for the 2014 Bill Masterton Trophy, awarded for ‘perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey’.
Ranger returned to the National Hockey League following almost three full seasons away for personal reasons, spending the 2012-13 season with the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies. A return to high-paced hockey after such a long absence is very rare in pro sports and Ranger was able to play 51 games for the Marlies and record 25 points last season.
Ranger, 29, made the decision to resume his career at the NHL level last summer and made the Leaf roster at training camp. In 49 games this season, he has four goals and eight assists.
Recent Masterton nominees from Toronto include James Reimer and Joffrey Lupul. 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 24 from Las Vegas.