The Toronto chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has chosen defenceman Ian White as its nominee for the 2009 Bill Masterton Trophy, recognizing ‘perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey’.
In 65 games this season at both right wing and defence, White has 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists) with a plus two (+2) rating, at one time leading the entire team in plus/minus. White, a sixth-round draft choice in 2002 that made the Leafs roster at training camp in 2006, is coming up to his career high of 26 points and his ice time has jumped from 18:32 a game in his first full season to almost 23 minutes.
White was not in the Maple Leafs starting lineup at the beginning of the 2008-09 season, a healthy scratch in the first 11 games. The coaching staff decided to utilize his versatility, converting the 24-year-old into a forward. White took the challenge of learning a new position at right wing but has played the majority of the season on the blueline.
Recent Masterton nominees from Toronto include Jason Blake, who became the first Leaf to win the trophy in 2008, Joe Nieuwendyk, Ed Belfour and Steve Thomas. 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 in early June