Inspiring goaltending performances were a common storyline this season in the NHL and it was reflected in the 2015 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy voting. Goalies Andrew Hammond of the Ottawa Senators and Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild, plus Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Kris Letang, were named finalists, the NHL revealed Thursday.
Hammond came out of nowhere this season to help the Senators make the playoffs. After making his first NHL start Feb. 18, the undrafted 27-year-old went 20-1-2 with a .941 save percentage, 1.79 goals-against average and three shutouts. He tied an NHL record set by Boston Bruins goaltender Frank Brimsek in 1938-39 by allowing two or fewer goals in each of his first 12 career starts.
At the beginning of the season, nobody could have foreseen the type of campaign Dubnyk would end up having. After being acquired by the Wild from the Arizona Coyotes for a third-round pick on Jan. 15, joining his fourth NHL team in the last two seasons, he began playing the best hockey of his career. The 28-year-old set a franchise record when he started 38 consecutive games going 27-9-2 with a .936 save percentage, a 1.78 GAA and five shutouts. His stellar play earned him a Vezina Trophy nomination and helped get the Wild into the post-season for a third straight season.
No player has overcome more injuries and setbacks in recent years while maintaining an elite level of play than Letang. In fact, it’s his second consecutive Masterton nomination. Letang’s 2013-14 season was cut short after suffering a stroke in January 2014, but he bounced back this season, playing 69 games and setting a career high in assists (43) and points (54).
The Masterton Trophy is awarded “to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. The winner will be announced at the 2015 NHL Awards June 24 in Las Vegas.