SAN JOSE - The San Jose chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association announced today that San Jose Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell (@ADell32) has been selected as its 2017 nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. The Masterton Trophy is awarded each season under the trusteeship of the PHWA to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
In his first season with the Sharks, Aaron Dell has registered a 10-5-1 record to go along with a .936 save percentage and 1.85 goals-against average. He currently leads the NHL in even strength save percentage (min. 10 games played), and his 1.85 GAA leads all NHL goaltenders (min. 10 GP). On December 30th, he earned his first career shutout against the Philadelphia Flyers in a 2-0 victory at SAP Center in San Jose. A native of Airdrie, Alberta, Canada, he was signed as a free agent on March 4, 2015.
The 27-year-old played collegiately at the University of North Dakota, where he won the WCHA championship while earning All-Tournament and Tournament MVP honors. He is currently the career leader at UND in goals-against average (1.79) and save percentage (.923).
"Deller" began his professional campaign with the Allen Americans of the, now defunct, Central Hockey League for the 2012-13 season, leading the team to a CHL championship. That season, he earned a plethora of awards including being named to the All-CHL Team, All-Rookie Team, All-Star Team, and winning the CHL's Most Outstanding Goaltender award.
Stints with the Utah Grizzles (East Coast Hockey League), Norfolk Admirals (American Hockey League), Manchester Monarchs (AHL), and Abbotsford Heat (AHL) during the 2013-14 season led him to the Sharks organization the following year.
Dell stared the 2014-15 season with the Allen Americans, posting an 8-1-2 record with a .902 save percentage and 2.84 goals-against average. He was promoted to the Worcester Sharks where he collected a 15-8-2 record, .927 save percentage and a 2.06 goals-against average while leading Worcester to the Calder Cup playoffs. That season, he ranked 3rd in goals-against average, T-2nd in save percentage and T-3rd in shutouts amongst AHL rookie goaltenders.
Last season, with the San Jose Barracuda, Dell achieved a 17-16-6 record with a .922 save percentage, a 2.42 goals-against average and four shutouts. He ranked T-8th in the AHL in goals-against average, T-4th in save percentage, T-6th in shutouts and 11th in saves (1,094).
The Masterton Trophy winner is selected from a poll of the 30 chapters of the PHWA at the end of the regular season and a $2,500 grant from the PHWA is awarded annually to the Bill Masterton Scholarship Fund, based in Bloomington, Minn., in the name of the winner.
The PHWA first presented the Masterton Trophy 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. Masterton died Jan. 15, 1968 following an injury suffered in a game.
Former Shark Tony Granato received the award in 1997. This year's winner will be named at the NHL's annual awards presentation in Las Vegas.