Welcome to Last Word on Hockey’s 2022 award predictions series. As the regular season wraps up and the playoffs begin, we’ll be taking a look at potential nominees and winners for the major NHL awards. The 2022 NHL Awards will be a one-hour show between Games 3 and 4 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final, hosted by the same city that will host those games. Tonight, we cover the Masterton Trophy predictions for 2022.
Masterton Trophy Predictions For 2021-22 Regular Season
The winner of the Masterton Trophy will be announced during the Stanley Cup Finals. The Professional Hockey Writers’ Association gives out this award annually. The player who has shown “the highest qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey” will win the trophy. Each team nominates one player, and the full list of the nominees can be found here.
Jack Eichel, Vegas Golden Knights
So yes, Jack Eichel may not be a popular choice right now. Pushing the Buffalo Sabres to trade him after years of mutual resentment and frustration has angered Sabres fans. They felt the American was supposed to be the one to lead the franchise to the promised land. While it is easy to sympathize with the Buffalo faithful, it has to be said that the forward’s battles and recovery from a spinal disc herniation are admirable. After attempts to rehabilitate without surgery, Eichel insisted on an artificial disk replacement. It had never been performed on an NHL player and opposed the Sabres’ management’s opinion.
Ultimately, his former club would not agree to his chosen procedure and Vegas were willing. So on the 4th of November, he was traded, with the surgery taking place later that month. Impressively, he managed to return as quickly as the 16th of February, scoring his first goal just four days later.
Vladimir Tarasenko, St Louis Blues
After undergoing his third shoulder surgery, concerns regarding Vladimir Tarasenko‘s performance and durability were high. This was clear when he was made available during the Expansion Draft and the Seattle Kraken opted to play it safe, selecting defenceman Vince Dunn. St Louis and Seattle’s decisions seemingly kickstarted the sharp-shooting winger, as the Tarasenko Blues fans know and love was out in full force this season. One of the top performers in his position, he netted 34 goals in 75 games, along with 48 assists. Ending with over a point per game, Tarasenko finished his revenge tour topping St Louis’ charts for goals and points. Without any uncertainty, he proved those who doubted his future this season wrong.
Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars
A bit of a dark horse to finish as a finalist, but should Tyler Seguin finish in the top 3 it absolutely would be deserved. During Dallas’ Stanley Cup run during the bubble playoffs, the Canadian was playing with a torn labrum in his right hip and required major surgery. Unfortunately, COVID-19 pushed the procedure to November, resulting in Seguin not returning to the line-up until early May 2021. Finally, he has been able to play a full season with the Stars. Whilst the fortunes of the team have not been the best, the forward has contributed relatively well. In 81 games he notched 49 points and whilst clearly not his best season in victory green. It is always great to see a talent like Seguin complete a full season without any hiccups following a concerning injury.
Winner – Kevin Hayes, Philadelphia Flyers
It has been a season to forget for the Flyers, but it was a truly difficult time for Kevin Hayes. The Boston native suffered the tragic loss of his brother Jimmy in August. If the untimely death of his sibling was not enough to disrupt his season, Hayes was battling an ongoing abdominal injury. This injury had already required two separate surgeries within the space of 4 months. In January, the problem resurfaced and he underwent a procedure to drain fluid from the adductor region.
Still, Hayes continued to play when he could, with an impressive 31 points in 48 games. The tally was good for seventh on the Flyers’ scoring charts, considering his missed time. It is difficult to see how the former Boston College star could not win. He’s been an inspiration to his teammates, the league and the community as a whole.