Each year, the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is awarded to the player in the NHL who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. According to an article on the Devils’ website by Amanda Stein, this year’s Devils nominee is Travis Zajac.
The award has been won by a Devil twice and by three players in franchise history. Brian Boyle was the last Devil to do it in 2018. Ken Daneyko won in 2000 and Glenn “Chico” Resch won the trophy as a Colorado Rockies player following the 1981-82 season.
Stein mentioned the reasons behind naming Zajac the Devils’ nominee in her article. The announcement was made on Tuesday by the New Jersey chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
Zajac, as Stein mentioned, is the longest tenured New Jersey Devil and serves as a mentor towards a team made up mostly of young players.
In more tangible terms, he notched his 335th career assist on February 9 according to Stein, putting him in a tie on the Devils’ all-time list in that category. On that date, he also moved into third overall on the all-time points list for the franchise with 521 points. He finished the season in fourth place on the Devils’ all-time goals scored list with 195 (Stein mentions that on January 12, he scored goal 192 to put him in fifth place on that list). He also played in his 934th game on November 2, tying him with John MacLean for fifth in games played with the franchise. He would finish the year all by himself at fourth on that list with 991 games played – all for the Devils – with 1,000 games a distinct possibility for next season barring any injuries.
The NHL will announce the winner of the Masterton Trophy at a later date. However, with the season officially ending last week, the records for the 2019-20 season are in the books and the regular season awards have been given out.
The Boston Bruins, with 100 points and the best record in the league, have won the Presidents’ Trophy. Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak of the Bruins won the William M. Jennings Trophy for the goaltenders (playing a minimum of 25 games) on the team with the fewest goals scored against. Another Bruin to win an award was David Pastrnak, who shared the Maurice Richard Trophy as top goal scorer in the league with Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. Both men lit the lamp 48 times in the shortened season.
Finally breaking the Boston stranglehold on regular season awards was Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers, who won the Art Ross Trophy as leading points scorer. Draisaitl had a dream season playing with Connor McDavid and ended the year with 110 points total (43 goals and 67 assists).
The rest of the NHL’s awards will be doled out whenever the season ends and the league can reschedule the awards show. This will likely be in the fall following the sprint that will be the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year.