Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk will be among the group of 32 vying for the 2022 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) announced Monday.
Awarded annually to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication, the 25-year-old DeBrusk’s nomination comes via voting from the Boston chapter of the PHWA.
“Despite a challenging last few seasons, the 25-year-old DeBrusk has persevered to play some of the best hockey of his career after an uncomfortable trade request was made public in December. He spoke to teammates on Dec. 1 and told them the honest truth, with Taylor Hall revealing DeBrusk told them his ‘career was at a crossroads’ DeBrusk scored the next night, went quiet through the holidays, and a trade never materialized,” the PHWA’s note on DeBrusk’s nomination read. “He busted out with eight goals in an eight-game stretch and even though he signed a two-year extension with the Bruins on trade deadline day just to take the fear of his qualifying offer off the table for interested teams, GM Don Sweeney still wasn’t able to find a taker. Through it all, DeBrusk has notched 23 goals – his best output in four seasons – and is knocking on the door of a career-high in points, and perhaps a fresh start elsewhere this summer.”
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In the interest of full transparency, I did not have DeBrusk on my top three.
My No. 1 vote went to David Pastrnak after Pastrnak and his girlfriend, Rebecca, dealt with the tragic death of their infant son last offseason. At No. 2, I had Erik Haula, who started off slow (and on his fifth team since 2018 no less) before finding his game and settling into his second-line center role to give the Black and Gold a boost they sorely needed and Haula the second-best season of his NHL career. And in the No. 3 spot, I had center Charlie Coyle, who has rebounded well from offseason knee operations and posted 16 goals and 43 points through 79 games.
The Bruins have not had a Masterton winner since Phil Kessel in 2007.
The Bruins have had four Masterton winners in all since the introduction of the award in 1968, including Kessel in 2007, Cam Neely in 1993-94, Gord Kluzak in 1989-90, and Charlie Simmer in 1985-86.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has been covering the Bruins since 2010, and has been a member of the Boston chapter of the PHWA since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.