SAINT PAUL, Minn. - The Twin Cities chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association (PHWA) today announced the nomination of Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal for the National Hockey League's (NHL) Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. The trophy is presented annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
Signed as a free agent by the Minnesota on July 1, 2016, Staal has recorded 60 points (27-33=60) in 77 games this season and leads the Wild in goals, GWG (7, T-7th in NHL), takeaways (50) and shots on goal, is second in scoring and fourth in assists. He skated in his 1,000th NHL game on March 19 at Winnipeg and has tallied 841 points (352-489=841) including 108 PPG, 54 GWG and 714 PIM in 1,006 regular-season NHL contests with the Hurricanes, Rangers and Wild. Staal owns 43 points (19-24=43) in 48 career Stanley Cup Playoff games and led the NHL in playoff scoring in 2006 with 28 points (9-19=28) in 25 games as Carolina won the Stanley Cup. He was named to the 2006 NHL Second All-Star Team and has played in four NHL All-Star Games - 2011, 2009, 2008 (MVP) and 2007. Staal is a member of the Triple Gold Club having won a gold medal with Canada at the 2007 World Championship and the 2010 Olympics, along with the 2006 Stanley Cup. Since entering the NHL in 2003-04, he ranks second in shots on goal, third in games played, seventh in goals, eighth in scoring, ninth in PPG and 11th in assists amongst active players. Staal was originally selected in the first round (2nd overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by Carolina.
The team will honor Staal for reaching the 1,000 game milestone in a special pre-game ceremony on April 4 when it hosts the Carolina Hurricanes.
He helped form the Staal Family Foundation whose mission is "motivated by the desire to give back to communities where we live and work by providing support and opportunities for children and families fighting Cancer." The foundation sponsors a Canadian PGA tour event each summer and the 2016 Staal Foundation Open in Thunder Bay raised $250,000.
The winner of the Masterton Trophy is selected by a poll among the 30 chapters of the PHWA at the end of the regular season. NHL writers first presented the trophy in 1968 to commemorate the late Bill Masterton, who played for the Minnesota North Stars and exhibited to a high degree the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Masterton died on Jan. 15, 1968 as a result of head injuries suffered during a game.
Nate Prosser (2015-16), Devan Dubnyk (2014-15), Josh Harding (2013-14, 2012-13), Clayton Stoner (2011-12), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (2010-11), Guillaume Latendresse (2009-10), Kurtis Foster (2008-09), Aaron Voros (2007-08), Marian Gaborik (2006-07), Wes Walz (2005-06, 2000-01), Alexandre Daigle (2003-04), Dwayne Roloson (2002-03) and Richard Park (2001-02) were previously nominated for the award. Harding was named the 2013 recipient of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy on June 14, 2013, to become the first player in Wild history to win a voted-on NHL Award. Dubnyk was named the recipient of the 2015 Bill Masterton Trophy on June 24, 2015.