On Monday morning, the NHL announced the three finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, and among them was Philadelphia Flyers center Kevin Hayes.
Zdeno Chara (@NYIslanders), Kevin Hayes (@NHLFlyers) and Carey Price (@CanadiensMTL) are the three finalists for the 2021-22 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. https://t.co/RyFW1S9gdA #NHLAwards pic.twitter.com/0KxVXUUC3e— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 16, 2022
The trophy is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association, and is “given to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey,” and Hayes has certainly persevered through a tremendous amount of off-ice adversities this season.
In the off-season, Hayes’s brother Jimmy passed away suddenly, leading the hockey world to come and grieve right before the NHL season began. Not only did he have to go through the family tragedy, but the 31-year-old center was dealing with surgeries and their recoveries throughout his 2021-22 campaign. Eventually, Hayes was able to finish his season with 48 games — earning 31 points along the way — and has hopefully re-established himself as a top-six center for Philadelphia.
Also in the running for this award is Montreal Canadiens netminder Carey Price, who made an astounding comeback from a potential career-ending injury; and New York Islanders blueliner Zdeno Chara who is getting the nod for being extremely old and still being able to skate.
If Hayes walks away with the Masterton, it would be the fifth time a current Flyer was awarded the trophy — most recently forward Oskar Lindblom earned the award after battling through his recovery from cancer in 2021. Also, if Hayes is the Masterton winner, this would mark the first time since 1975 that the Flyers have had three consecutive years of players earning individual awards, since Sean Couturier earned the Selke Trophy in 2020. It might not be Bobby Clarke earning the Hart Trophy, and Bernie Parent getting back-to-back Vezinas, but it’s awards nevertheless.
The winner will be announced during the 2022 NHL Awards, taking place in between Game 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.