LAS VEGAS -- Robin Lehner of the New York Islanders won the Masterton Trophy as the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey at the 2019 NHL Awards presented by Bridgestone on Wednesday.
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The goalie had his best NHL season, going 25-13-5 with a 2.13 goals-against average, .930 save percentage and six shutouts after he revealed addiction and mental health issues in an article he wrote for The Athletic during training camp.
"I think it's just starting," Lehner said of the message he is hoping to send. "There's so much more that needs to be done. It's just encouraging to see more and more people are talking about it. There's a lot more work to be done. It's fine to talk about it and all, but changes need to be made."
Video: Robin Lehner awarded the Masterton Trophy
Lehner and teammate Thomas Greiss won the 2018-19 William M. Jennings Trophy as the goaltenders on the team allowing the fewest regular-season goals, helping the Islanders post their highest regular-season points total (103) since 1983-84.
The local chapters of the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) submitted nominations for the Masterton Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, and the top three vote-getters -- Lehner, Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno and San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton -- were designated as finalists. A $2,500 grant from the PHWA is awarded annually to the Bill Masterton Scholarship Fund, based in Bloomington, Minnesota, in the name of the winner.
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 Jan. 15, 1968.
"It represents so much," Lehner said. "It represents so much personally to both me and my wife, my family. I've had such an incredible outpour of support and so many people that have contacted me, tried to contact me that I still haven't been able to get to yet, that are just scared to take that first step, scared of doing the things necessary to turn their lives around. That's incredibly rewarding. I had a dinner with all the doctors from the program the other day and they obviously don't tell me names or anything, but they said a lot of people have reached out to them and started getting help because of me being outspoken. If that was just one person it would be worth it."