The finalists for the Masterton Trophy were unveiled on Wednesday with the top three vote getters being named. They are Jaromir Jagr of the Devils, Manny Malhotra of the Hurricanes and Dominic Moore of the Rangers.
The Masterton is given to was is essentially the NHL's comeback player of the year. More specifically it's handed out to "the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey."
When it comes to perseverance and dedication to hockey, nobody embodies that much better than Jagr. The 42-year-old just had another remarkable season for the Devils and will be coming back for yet another campaign next season. He led the Devils in points this season, well ahead of the rest of the roster with 16 points. He's a legend in the sport in so many ways, one of which is through his well-documented workout routines. He works harder than any player to that he can stay in shape and fit late into games. It's been working because this season was amazing, all things considered.
Moore made a return to the NHL this season after a break of more than a year. He stepped away from the sport in 2012 to care for his wife Katie after she was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer but she died in January of 2013 at the age of 32. After his loss, Moore started the Katie Moore Foundation to help families and patients with their rare cancer and treatments. He returned to the NHL before this season, signing with the Rangers and having a pretty nice season in a bottom-six role for New York with six goals and 12 assists in 73 games. He has been particularly noticeable in this playoff series with two goals in six games so far.
Many thought Malhotra's career was finished a couple of years ago after he took a puck to the eye while with the Vancouver Canucks. He missed almost all of the 2012-13 season and apparently the Canucks thought his career was finished but Malhotra had other ideas so he signed on with the Hurricanes on an AHL deal originally. He quickly earned a promotion and played in 69 games with the Hurricanes, scoring seven goals with six assists. He continued to do what he has always done best and that was win faceoffs. Malhotra was second in the league with a faceoff win percentage of 59.4.
Like the other trophies, the Masteron will be handed out at the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas on June 24.