Pascal Dupuis was named one of the three finalists for the Bill Masterton Trophy on Sunday afternoon.
The Masterton Trophy is presented each year to “the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.” The winner is selected by a poll among the 30 chapters of the PHWA at the end of the regular season.
This is the second-straight year that a Penguins’ player has been a finalist for this award. Kris Letang was a runner-up to Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk last season.
All NHL award winners will be announced at the 2016 NHL Awards Show on Wednesday, June 22 at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas.
Dupuis, 37, made the difficult decision to announce that he will no longer play hockey on Dec. 8 of this season, stepping away after numerous comeback attempts this year alone.
Arguably the heart and soul of the Penguins, Dupuis returned to Pittsburgh’s lineup on Oct. 22, his first regular-season game action since November 2014, when he was sidelined with his second blood clot in 10 months.
The original clot formed in January of 2014 as a complication of his ACL tear.
Twice this season, Dupuis had to deal with additional medical scares while playing, the second of which is what forced him to make the final call to step away. He missed back-to-back games due to symptoms related to his previous blood clot issues in Edmonton and Calgary in early November, then sat out the final period in San Jose on Dec. 1 after not feeling well.
That doesn’t include having his regular season delayed by six games because of a lower-body injury sustained near the end of training camp.
Since stepping away from playing, the popular Dupuis has continued an active role with the Penguins, providing input to both the coaching staff and players during home games as an eye in the sky in the media level. He also comes to the rink daily to work out with, and stay close to, his teammates.
During the second round of the NHL playoffs, Dupuis has traveled with the team on the road, something he did on most trips while he sat out the final 71 games of the ’14-15 campaign.
A fan favorite, Dupuis tallied 190 goals, 219 assists and 409 points in 871 career NHL games. That included two goals and four points in 18 games this season, with his final NHL goal coming Nov. 11 against his hometown Montreal Canadiens.
During his final week of playing this year, Dupuis had made it all the way back to his usual spot on Pittsburgh’s top line skating on the right wing next to captain Sidney Crosby and left wing Chris Kunitz.
In February, Dupuis was honored by Dapper Dan Charities as the first-ever winner of the Dapper Dan Courage Award.
Lowell MacDonald (1973) and Mario Lemieux (1993) are the only Penguins to win the Masterton Trophy.