Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno, New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner and San Jose Sharks centre Joe Thornton are the three finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, the NHL announced Friday.
The award is given to the player who best “exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey.”
After publically addressing his mental health and addiction issues, Lehner put forth a tremendous statistical campaign that helped lead New York into the post-season and past the Pittsburgh Penguins in a shocking first-round sweep.
Foligno has played an instrumental role leading the Blue Jackets to the playoffs for a third consecutive season as the team’s captain, all while dealing with family health complications. He’s been nominated for the award on two previous occasions (2013-14 and 2014-15) and is only one of two players in franchise history to receive a nod.
As for Thornton, the veteran centre’s commitment to rehabbing from a torn ACL and MCL in both knees has served as an inspiration to his teammates and others in the organization. The Sharks captain finished the regular season with 16 goals and 35 assists in 73 contests.
The winner of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is voted on by a poll of the 31 chapters of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, will be announced in June at the 2019 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.