Masterton Trophy Finalists: Anderson vs. Cogliano vs. Ryan

Craig Anderson of the Ottawa Senators, Andrew Cogliano of the Anaheim Ducks, and Derek Ryan of the Carolina Hurricanes are the finalists for the 2016-17 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. It is awarded “to the player who best
exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to
hockey.”

Local chapters of the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) submit their nomination for the award at the end of each season. The members of the PHWA vote on the three finalists.

Who is taking home the Masterton Trophy this year?

Why Craig Anderson Deserves The Masterton

From the NHL:

Anderson recorded a successful season for the Senators while supporting his wife, Nicholle, in her fight against a rare form of throat cancer. After leaving the Senators in October to be with Nicholle, Anderson returned to the club at her urging on Oct. 29 when the Senators lost goaltender Andrew Hammond to a groin injury. He left the team in early December to be at Nicholle’s side while she underwent treatment and came back after the All-Star break. Anderson backstopped the Senators to a Stanley Cup Playoff berth by winning 25 of his 40 starts, surpassed the 500 career game milestone and, on March 11, became the Senators’ all-time wins leader (147).

Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch writes of Anderson:

After taking a leave of absence for two months to be with Nicholle while she underwent treatment at a New York hospital, Anderson returned to the Senators in late January …

Part of the reason Anderson has been able to focus on his job is the support that Nicholle is getting from family. She’s undergoing another round of chemotherapy treatment near their home in Coral Springs, Fla., but her attitude is inspirational (as evidenced by her blog) and she’s shown incredible courage.

“She’s been strong through this time. It’s definitely been hard on her and our family and when times get tough you find strength — inner strength — that maybe you didn’t believe you had,” Anderson said.

Nicholle made a surprise appearance at Game 6 in Boston as she watched the Sens successfully punch their ticket to the second round. After the game, the cameras caught Nicholle and Craig sharing a moment in the stands.

Why Andrew Cogliano Deserves The Masterton

From the NHL:

Cogliano is a four-time Masterton Trophy nominee and is the NHL’s reigning ‘ironman,’ having played in 786 consecutive regular-season games (833 including Stanley Cup Playoffs). He has never missed a game in his 10-year NHL career, during which he has skated 17,650 shifts over 12,425 playing minutes (regular season and playoffs). Only one player in NHL history has played more consecutive games to start his career: Doug Jarvis, holder of the NHL’s all-time consecutive games streak (964, from 1975-88). Cogliano recorded his 300th NHL point in Anaheim’s season opener on Oct. 13 and surpassed Craig Ramsay (776) for the fourth-longest consecutive games played streak in NHL history on March 22.

Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register writes of Cogliano:

Fittingly, Cogliano reached his latest milestone with his only other NHL team as the opponent Wednesday night. Along with [Kevin] Lowe bringing him into the Oilers’ organization, the winger said then-coach Craig MacTavish also played a big role in showing him what it took to flourish in the league.

Under MacTavish, Cogliano learned the value of nutrition and a dedication to fitness – traits he is religiously devoted to year-round. It also helped that the Oilers were in transition and eager to infuse more youth onto their roster.

“I was able to have a good camp,” Cogliano said. “That obviously helped the situation a lot. But I think timing is everything. When you get the opportunity, you have to seize the moment. You have to seize the opportunity.”

Cogliano is a small guy who is built with Canadian Adamantium. He’s become an indispensable member of the Ducks, and a key part of their shut-down line. In addition to his on-ice accomplishments, Cogliano always talks with the media even when other players might stay far away after a tough loss.

Why Derek Ryan Deserves The Masterton

From the NHL:

Few players have taken a longer journey to the NHL than the undrafted Ryan, who earned a regular place on the Carolina roster this season at the age of 29. Following a successful major junior career with the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League, where he led his team in scoring in consecutive years under current Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters, his journey took him to the United Hockey League; the University of Alberta; Szekesfehervar, Hungary; Villach, Austria; and Orebro, Sweden. Signed by the Hurricanes as a free agent in June 2015, Ryan got his first NHL opportunity in 2015-16 (6 GP) and became a full-time player this season, recording 11-18—29 in 67 games.

Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer writes of Ryan:

On March 1, 2016, at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., Ryan played his first NHL game against the New Jersey Devils. He also scored his first NHL goal against goalie Cory Schneider in a 3-1 victory.

After the game, Ryan said few words were spoken as he gathered with his family. There were, however, a lot of hugs.

“There aren’t many who get that opportunity,” he said. “Whether you’re 19 or 29, it’s special and it was special to me.”

Next time you’re thinking about quitting at something, remember Derek Ryan. He’s played hockey his entire life and could have given up on his NHL dream. The sport has taken him around the world and back again before he cracked an NHL roster. Doing right before the age of thirty, when we’re told players are on the downward slope of their career, makes it just as remarkable.

Who Wins The Masterton?

Anderson. This award is not just for him; it’s for Nicholle, too. Cancer is terrifying. Nicholle is enduring treatments with Craig by her side, but she was incredibly selfless to urge him to go back to Ottawa when the team needed him the most.

Our Ballot (in alphabetical order, as the PHWA was asked not to reveal our votes until after the award is handed out.)

1. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators
2. Aaron Dell, San Jose Sharks
3. Derek Ryan, Carolina Hurricanes