In a season with more lows than highs, the play of Stars forward Patrick Eaves has definitely been one of the highs.
The Masterton Trophy
The 30-year-old Eaves, 6ft 200 lbs, is the Stars’ candidate for the Masterton Trophy. The Professional Hockey Writers Associates choose a candidate from each NHL team. The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. The 2015 Masterton Trophy winner will be announced on June 24th at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas.
The trophy is named after Bill Masterton who played briefly for the Minnesota North Stars in 1967-68. Masterton, whose number 19 hangs from the rafters at the American Airlines Arena, died tragically after his head hit the ice following a collision with two opposing players. Click here to see all 30 nominees.
Dallas is the 6th NHL city Eaves has stopped at in his 9 year journey. Unfortunately for Eaves it has been a career known more for injuries and potential than rewards and accolades. This season Eaves has endured a broken foot and concussion while recording his best statistical season since 2006-07. The concussion was particularly concerning because it was the result of a shot to the face, similar to an injury he sustained while with the Red Wings. The injury sidelined Eaves for a month and a half.
On Saturday night, Stars color commentator, Daryl Reaugh, made Eaves aware of the Masterton nomination. Eaves was thankful and took the time to thank his wife, his dog, and his kids. Yes, his dog, haha. At first, some may have wondered if Eaves had sustained yet another concussion. However, after further review, Eaves is very much a dog lover and has participated in a lot of charity work with the Humane Society. Eaves dog, is a 130-pound Newfoundlander named Reuben.
Eaves Signs With Stars
In July 2014 Stars General Manager Jim Nill signed Eaves to a one year deal for a modest $650k. Nill was familiar with Eaves from their days together in Detroit. Nill explained the reason for the signing with the NHL.com,“Patrick is a smart and disciplined, two-way player who plays a high-tempo game,” said Nill. “His speed and versatility will fit in well with our style of play and add great depth to our forward corps.”
— Ferrall on SportsGrid (@FerrallonGrid) March 25, 2015
Eaves’ versatility has been on display all season. At times he has skated on the 1st line along with Seguin and Benn, while other times he’s filled in well on the 3rd and 4th lines. In 44 games this season Eaves has produced 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points. He also leads the team in plus/minus with a +6 rating. Eaves is having his best season since 2006-07.
From The Beanpot To Music City
Eaves was a 1st round pick (29th overall) of the Ottawa Senators in 2003. The Calgary, Alberta native (holds Canadian and American citizenship) played 3 seasons at Boston College and was a Hobey Baker finalist in 2005. He decided to skip his senior year and signed with Ottawa. He started the 2005-06 season with Ottawa’s minor league team in Binghamton. After a good start he was called up and finished his rookie season playing in 58 games for Ottawa while scoring 20 goals (still his career high) and 9 assists for 29 points. Eaves also had a + 7 plus/minus rating. Eaves would spend another season and a half with Ottawa before being traded to Carolina in 2008.
Eaves signed a three-year contract worth $4.2 million with Carolina. However, injuries which started to take a toll the end of his tenure with Ottawa continued in Carolina. He was ultimately traded to Boston in a 2009 salary dump which Boston ended up absorbing when they bought him out before he ever played a game for them. Prior to the 2009-2010 season, Eaves signed a one year deal for $500k with the Detroit Red Wings. Eaves rewarded the Red Wings by appearing in 65 games and producing 12 goals and 10 assists for 22 points and 0 plus/minus rating. Eaves had similar numbers the following season before injuries would again impact his development.
In 2011-2012 Eaves took a Roman Josi shot to the face that left him with a broken jaw and concussion. From 2011 thru the end of the 2013-14 season Eaves would appear in only 74 games. Late in 2014 he was traded to the Nashville Predators and appeared in 5 games before his tenure ended with Nashville.
A Hockey Family
Patrick’s father, Mike Eaves was an outstanding collegiate athlete with Wisconsin university in the mid 70’s. He had a modest NHL career with the Minnesota North Stars and Calgary Flames from 1979-85. Following his playing days Eaves moved into coaching and had stints as an NHL assistant and minor league head coach. He also coached in Finland for one season and coached his son Patrick with Team USA at the 2004 World Juniors. Eaves has spent the last 12 years as the head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers.
Patrick’s older brother Ben also played forward for Boston College. Ben Eaves played 4 seasons with the Eagles (2000-04) and was drafted in the 4th round of the 2001 draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Though he was a gifted offensive player, Ben was diminutive (5’6,176 lbs) in stature at a time when the NHL preferred size and power forwards. Ben never made it to the NHL but would go on to play in Europe.
Patrick’s uncle Murray Eaves also played briefly in the NHL.
Good luck to Patrick Eaves on his Masterton nomination. If he wins, let’s hope Reuben makes the Vegas trip along with the wife and kids.