According to the team’s website, Brian Elliott has been named the Philadelphia Flyers’ Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy nominee for the 2018-19 season. The Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association decided the goaltender in his second season with the Orange and Black ‘embodies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to the game of hockey.’ Via the Flyers’ website, this is what Elliott had to say about the nomination:
”It’s definitely a meaningful award. It’s your dedication to the game and I’ve always been a guy that just loves the game, loves to be at the rink and be around a team,” said Elliott. “Whenever you get nominated for that, it’s definitely humbling that people feel that of you - that you have that dedication towards playing hockey and doing something you love.”
When looking at the rest of the roster, Elliott is probably the most deserving Flyer of the nomination. After core muscle surgery cost him 25 games last season, Elliott missed 40 games this season due to a lower-body injury. A few things happened between his loss to the New Jersey Devils on November 15th and his relief appearance against the Tampa Bay Lightning on February 19th: general manager Ron Hextall and head coach Dave Hakstol were fired, Carter Hart took the league by storm, Anthony Stolarz put a string of strong performances together to put himself into the conversation to be next year’s backup, and new general manager Chuck Fletcher traded for Cam Talbot. Despite all these things working against his odds of returning to the team next season, Elliott went 3-0-1 with a .936 save percentage in his first six appearances following his return to the lineup in mid-February to help the Flyers stay in the playoff conversation. In his 11 appearances since playing the Lightning in February, Elliott is 5-3-1 with a .912 save percentage.
It isn’t likely he’ll win the award, but if Elliott were to win this year’s Masterton he’d join Ian Laperriere in 2011, Tim Kerr in 1989, and Bobby Clarke in 1972 as the only other Flyers to take home the award. Laperriere won the award after he infamously blocked a shot with his face in the 2010 postseason effectively ended his career. Kerr endured a knee injury, two shoulder operations, and aseptic meningitis before finishing the 1988-89 campaign with 48 goals and 88 points in 69 games (still nice). Clarke overcame the rumors he wouldn’t be able to compete in the league due to the fact he had diabetes.
Claude Giroux was the team’s nominee last season as he put together an MVP-caliber season after a down season where it felt as though his career decline had begun. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was nominated in the 2016-17 season for being Chris VandeVelde’s linemate, Shayne Gostisbehere was nominated in 2015-16 for putting together a Calder-caliber campaign after tearing his ACL a season before. and Nick Schultz was nominated in 2014-15.