The Vancouver Canucks have announced that the team’s nominee for this year’s Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is goaltender Ryan Miller. The annual award, which has a nominee from each team, recognizes the player that best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to the game of hockey.
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) March 27, 2017
More notable recent winners include Jaromir Jagr who led his team in both points and goals at age 44, Devan Dubnyk who resurrected his career after playing for five teams in two seasons and Dominic Moore who returned to the NHL after tragically losing his wife to liver cancer.
For Miller, perseverance is key. The 36-year-old goaltender has been a rock for the struggling Canucks this season, as evidenced by his .915 Sv% despite playing behind a team that averages over 31 shots against per game. In fact, Miller has faced 40 or more shots nine times this season, more than any other goaltender in the NHL.
Answering the Bell
Through it all Miller has been a good teammate and a professional, despite facing trying circumstances. Getting shelled for 40 shots on the regular probably wasn’t in the plan when Miller signed with the Canucks three years ago, but he’s made the most of his time regardless.
Whether it’s standing up for teammates, like he did for rookie Troy Stecher during a 6-3 drubbing by the Toronto Maple Leafs in November, or posting a remarkable .936 Sv% during a 12-game stretch in December and January, or keeping his team in the playoff hunt into early March, Miller has answered the bell time and time again this season.
Whether he’s recognized by the NHL at this summer’s awards ceremony remains to be seen, but what’s the old saying? “It’s an honor just to be nominated.”
I personally think that Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson, who has had a tremendous season despite missing significant time to be with his wife while she undergoes cancer treatment, is the most deserving recipient, but Miller is a worthy candidate nonetheless.