by PuckStopsHere on 01/24/14 at 01:21 AM ET
Officially, the Masterton Trophy is given to the player who best combines perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication. In practise, it is usually given to the player who has the best season after overcoming a significant obstacle. Last year's winner was Josh Harding of the Minnesota Wild. He is overcoming multiple sclerosis to play in the NHL. The problem is his 2013 season was nothing special. He was limited to five games played in the season. He posted a lacklustre .863 saves percentage and a 3.24 GAA. At times he was unavailable to play because of complications from his MS.
A player can only win the Masterton Trophy once in a career, so Josh Harding cannot win the award again. The problem is he has become a far better candidate this season. He has been one of the best goalies in the NHL this season. Harding is posting a .933 saves percentage and a 1.65 GAA. This is the completion of the story. Harding has overcome MS to be a top goalie in the NHL, as opposed to the bit player who was barely hanging onto an NHL career last year. In an ideal world, Harding could win the Masterton this year and have left it for somebody else (I picked Andrei Markov of Montreal). This year he is a stronger candidate than Manny Malhotra, who I am currently picking, but Harding cannot win this year.
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