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Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey. It is named after Bill Masterton, the only player in NHL history to die due to injuries suffered during a game. The winner is selected by a Professional Hockey Writers’ Association poll after each team nominates one player in the competition. It is often awarded to a player who has returned from a career– or even life-threatening illness or injury.

The current trophy holder is Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who won as a member of the San Jose Sharks.

Robin Lehner New York Islanders Bill Masterton
Robin Lehner of the New York Islanders accepts the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy during the 2019 NHL Awards. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Deeper Dive

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy Winners

SeasonWinnerTeamReasons for winning
1967–68Claude ProvostMontreal Canadiens“Embodied the definition of perseverance and dedication to hockey” throughout his 15-year career.
1968–69Ted HampsonOakland SealsHad his best statistical year on a recent expansion team.
1969–70Pit MartinChicago BlackhawksAfter denouncing the Hawks at the end of the 1968–69 NHL season, Martin and his team came back to finish first in the league, and Martin had 30 goals and 33 assists for 63 points.
1970–71Jean RatelleNew York RangersA 20-year veteran, he won the trophy for a “lifelong dedication to strong, clean hockey”.
1971–72Bobby ClarkePhiladelphia FlyersOvercame diabetes to play in the NHL.
1972–73Lowell MacDonaldPittsburgh PenguinsOvercame severe ligament and cartilage damage to his knee and scored 34 goals and 41 assists for 75 points during the 1972–73 NHL season.
1973–74Henri RichardMontreal CanadiensThis honored a 20-year career with 11 Stanley Cups.
1974–75Don LuceBuffalo SabresAwarded for perseverance and dedication after a 38-point increase in scoring from the previous season.
1975–76Rod GilbertNew York RangersOvercame a serious back injury early during his career.
1976–77Ed WestfallNew York IslandersAwarded for being a good leader.
1977–78Butch GoringLos Angeles KingsMade the NHL despite his small overall stature and weight and had consistently good seasons.
1978–79Serge SavardMontreal CanadiensAwarded for “dedication to hockey” after he won his eighth Stanley Cup in eleven seasons.
1979–80Al MacAdamMinnesota North StarsRewarded for his perseverance after scoring a career-high 42 goals and 51 assists (93 points).
1980–81Blake DunlopSt. Louis BluesAlthough he was a star in junior hockey, he only broke out during the 1980–81 NHL season, after being drafted during the 1973–74 NHL season, by scoring 20 goals and 67 assists for 87 points. It was awarded for perseverance.
1981–82Glenn ReschColorado RockiesAwarded for perseverance, as he gave his young team more confidence while he served as its goaltender.
1982–83Lanny McDonaldCalgary FlamesPresented for his dedication, scored 66 goals and 32 assists for 98 points.
1983–84Brad ParkDetroit Red WingsAwarded for his dedication to hockey, having played for a team that qualified for the playoffs for 17 straight seasons without winning the Stanley Cup.
1984–85Anders HedbergNew York RangersHe was recognized for a dedicated career, and unlike many other winners, for a very good season (20 goals and 31 assists in 64 games played) as well.
1985–86Charlie SimmerBoston BruinsOvercame serious ligament damage to his knee to score 60 points.
1986–87Doug JarvisHartford WhalersAwarded during a season in which he played his 915th consecutive game, beating Garry Unger’s record. He retired, having improved the record to 964.
1987–88Bob BourneLos Angeles KingsAwarded for exemplifying the qualities of dedication and perseverance.
1988–89Tim KerrPhiladelphia FlyersHe returned to score 48 goals and 40 assists for 88 points in 69 games after overcoming severe knee and shoulder injuries, as well as aseptic meningitis the season before.
1989–90Gord KluzakBoston BruinsTried to overcome severe knee injuries, but after playing two games after his tenth knee operation, he retired.
1990–91Dave TaylorLos Angeles KingsPlayed his entire 17-season career with the Kings and was honored for his dedication.
1991–92Mark FitzpatrickNew York IslandersOvercame Eosinophilia–myalgia syndrome, a potentially life-threatening disease, and returned to the NHL.
1992–93Mario LemieuxPittsburgh PenguinsMissed 24 games because of Hodgkin’s lymphoma and still won his fourth Art Ross Trophy with 160 points.
1993–94Cam NeelyBoston BruinsAwarded “to recognize his valiant efforts to return to NHL action after suffering career-threatening injuries”; however, those injuries caused his retirement after the 1995–96 NHL season.
1994–95Pat LaFontaineBuffalo SabresOvercame a series of serious head injuries.
1995–96Gary RobertsCalgary FlamesSuccessfully recovered from possibly career-ending surgery to correct bone spurs and nerve damage.
1996–97Tony GranatoSan Jose SharksOvercame possibly career-ending brain injury sustained during the 1995–96 NHL season to score 25 goals during the 1996–97 NHL season.
1997–98Jamie McLennanSt. Louis BluesOvercame bacterial meningitis.
1998–99John CullenTampa Bay LightningOvercame non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
1999–2000Ken DaneykoNew Jersey DevilsOvercame alcoholism.
2000–01Adam GravesNew York RangersAwarded for all-around dedication to hockey.
2001–02Saku KoivuMontreal CanadiensOvercame non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
2002–03Steve YzermanDetroit Red WingsEventually overcame several health problems but played only a small part of the 2002–03 NHL season.
2003–04Bryan BerardChicago BlackhawksOvercame an injury that rendered him legally blind in one eye.
2004–05NHL Lockout – No Winner
2005–06Teemu SelanneMighty Ducks of AnaheimOvercame major knee surgery to get 90 points (40 goals and 50 assists).
2006–07Phil KesselBoston BruinsMissed 12 games because of testicular cancer mid-season.
2007–08Jason BlakeToronto Maple LeafsDespite his diagnosis of chronic myelogenous leukemia, he played all 82 games of the season.
2008–09Steve SullivanNashville PredatorsPlayed 41 games this season after missing nearly two years due to a fragmented disc in his back and a strained groin.
2009–10Jose TheodoreWashington CapitalsHad his best season since 2001–02 following his son Chase’s death in 2009 from complications stemming from his premature birth.
2010–11Ian LaperrierePhiladelphia FlyersDiagnosed with post-concussion syndrome after being hit in the face with a puck while blocking a shot during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, did not play again after the injury but “continued to serve the team in several capacities.”
2011–12Max PaciorettyMontreal CanadiensWas knocked out of the 2010–11 season following a hit that left him with a concussion and a fractured vertebra. Pacioretty returned in 2011–12 to have his most productive season to date (33 goals and 32 assists).
2012–13Josh HardingMinnesota WildEarned a shutout in his first start after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the off-season, then missed 33 games before returning late in the season and starting five playoff games.
2013–14Dominic MooreNew York RangersReturned to the NHL in the 2013–14 season after taking an 18-month leave of absence from the league in the spring of 2012 to care for his wife, Katie, following her diagnosis with a rare form of liver cancer. She died in January 2013.
2014–15Devan DubnykMinnesota WildLed the last-place Wild to the playoffs following a mid-season trade, going 27–9–2 with a 1.78 goals-against average, .936 save percentage, and five shutouts. The Wild were Dubnyk’s fifth team over the previous two seasons.
2015–16Jaromir JagrFlorida PanthersAt the age of 44, he led the Panthers in points (66) and was second in goals (27) as the team earned its first Atlantic Division title and returned to the playoffs after 3 absences. Jagr became the oldest player to surpass 60 points and was lauded for his work ethic and off-ice mentorship.
2016–17Craig AndersonOttawa SenatorsHelped his team advance to the conference final after leaving mid-season to be with his wife, Nicholle, who was diagnosed with cancer.
2017–18Brian BoyleNew Jersey DevilsDiagnosed with myeloid leukemia, a type of bone marrow cancer, at the beginning of training camp. He returned to the NHL on November 1 and scored 10 goals over his first 25 games.
2018–19Robin LehnerNew York IslandersAfter publicly revealing struggles with alcoholism and bipolar disorder in the offseason, he had a career-low 2.13 goals against average in the regular season with the Islanders, which was the lowest total since the mid-1980s.
2019–20**Bobby RyanOttawa SenatorsAfter publicly revealing struggles with alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder, in an effort to help others with addiction issues, he returned to the NHL, scoring a hat trick in his first home game back.
2020-21**Oscar LindbergPhiladelphia FlyersAfter being diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in the middle of the 2019–20 season, he returned in the playoffs that year and played a full season in 2020–21.
2021-22Carey PriceMontreal CanadiensPublicly disclosed and sought treatment for substance abuse and also worked for months on a protracted recovery from offseason knee surgery before returning to play five games at the end of the season.
2022-23Kris LetangPittsburgh PenguinsSuffered a stroke, the second of his career, after initially suffering from a stroke in January 2014. He returned to play 12 days later. Additionally, he missed time due to a broken foot and the death of his father, Claude, within the same month, still returning to play weeks later.
**COVID-19 shortened season