The Masterton Trophy is presented annually to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. The winner will be selected at the end of the regular season by a poll of the PHWA’s 30 chapters. Last year’s recipient was forward Phil Kessel of the Boston Bruins.
“I’m excited about it,” said Zubov. “I’m familiar with the Masterton Trophy but never really considered myself a candidate for it. It’s about dedication to hockey and having your name mentioned with those same words is a nice honor.”
Zubov, 37, has appeared in 46 games with the Stars this season, posting four goals and 31 assists for 35 points with a +6 rating. Despite missing the past 25 games due to injury, he is still the only defensemen to record 30-plus assists in each of the past 12 seasons. He notched his 600th career NHL assist on Nov. 21 vs. Anaheim, becoming the 15th NHL defensemen in league history to reach the milestone.
“The older you get, the more you realize and recognize how special this game is, that it’s not just a job,” said Zubov. “It’s who I am, it’s what I do. I love playing hockey and I am very excited about being Dallas’ nominee for the Masterton. It means a lot.”
The 15-year NHL veteran ranks third in scoring all-time among defensemen born outside of North America behind Nicklas Lidstrom and Borje Salming. Since the 1993-94 season, he ranks second (behind Lidstrom) in points among all NHL blueliners.
“For me, it’s about having a willness to compete and to win. There’s nothing else – winning is the highest priority,” said Zubov. “All I really care about is winning. Individual awards are nice but I’d rather have the Stanley Cup than anything else. This is the time of year to pick it up. We have to be prepared for the playoffs.”
Following the 2005-06 season, Zubov was nominated for the Norris Trophy for the first time in his career and was also named to the NHL Second All-Star Team. In 1993-94 while with the New York Rangers, he became the first defensemen in NHL history to lead a team in scoring that finished first overall in the NHL. The two-time Stanley Cup winner (’94 with Rangers, ’99 with Stars) has also participated in three NHL All-Star Games (1998, 1999, 2000) and one Olympics (1992).
NHL writers first presented the trophy in 1968 to commemorate the late Bill Masterton, who played for the Minnesota North Stars and died on January 15, 1968, as the result of head injuries suffered during a game. Masterton’s number 19 has never been worn by another Stars player and was officially retired on January 17, 1987.
Philippe Boucher was Dallas’ nominee for the 2006-07 season.