Posted by Luke DeCock - staff columnist on April 16, 2014
Members of the PHWA who participate in NHL awards voting have been encouraged to publish their ballots this year. So heres mine, but to see it, youll have to sit through my rant on the Masterton Trophy.
I hate that this award has, over the past few years, morphed into a contest to see who can come back from the worst injury. In my mind, its supposed to be, at least in part, a career achievement award. Sometimes, as in the case of Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding, who won last season for playing through multiple sclerosis, theres a clear case to be made. Other recent winners have not, to me, fit the criteria. So I always try to vote for players whose careers call for further recognition, even if this is the only trophy theyll ever have a chance to win.
So my vote this year goes to Carolinas Manny Malhotra, who fits both categories, a true professional who also happens to be coming back from a serious eye injury. What puts Malhotra over the top is that he was told he could no longer play by the Vancouver Canucks and fought his way back to the NHL with the Hurricanes and had a very effective season as a fourth-line center and faceoff specialist. If that isnt perseverance and dedication to hockey, I dont know what is.