The New York Rangers nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is Chris Kreider, a well deserved honor and it won’t be the last time he is recognized for his fabulous season.
The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is awarded “to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.” It is an award that doesn’t require outstanding statistics so it’s not his 50-goal season that was a reason for his selection, but a reflection on the player himself.
The Professional Hockey Writers’ Association selects the nominees for the 2022 Bill Masterton Trophy, one from each team. It’s the second time that Chris Kreider has been the New York Chapter’s pick from the New York Rangers as he was their selection in 2018.
The award that has been won five times by New York Rangers players, tied with the Montreal Canadiens for most by any team. Here are the five Blueshirts who won the award:
Jean Ratelle 1970-71
Rod Gilbert 1975-76
Anders Hedberg 1984-85
Adam Graves 2000-01
Dominic Moore 2013-14
Oskar Lindblom of the Philadelphia Flyers won the award last year, honored for his return to hockey after being diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma. While many of the award winners have had to deal with personal challenges including tragedy or illness, the Trophy has also been given to players who have shown perseverance and dedication and lengthy contributions to hockey.
That’s where Kreider deserves the recognition. As the longest tenured Ranger, he has become a team leader and mentor to one of the youngest teams in the league. The 31-year old has become the elder statesman for the team, routinely dealing with the press and helping new players get acclimated to life as a Ranger.
Five former Rangers are also nominees. They are the Hurricanes’ Antti Raanta, Anthony Duclair from the Panthers, Brian Boyle from the Penguins, Kevin Hayes from the Flyers and Jack Johnson of the Avalanche. Boyle won the award in 2018 after treatment for leukemia.
Prior Ranger nominees for the Masterton Trophy include Colin Blackwell (2021), Henrik Lundqvist (2020), Brendan Smith (2019), Kreider (2018), Dan Girardi (2017), Mats Zuccarello (2016) and Marc Staal (2015).
The award is named for Bill Masterton of the Minnesota North Stars, who died in 1968 from injuries sustained in a game.