The Anaheim Ducks are not lacking in past winners of the Masterton Memorial Trophy. Teemu Selanne, Jason Blake and Saku Koivu have all won the award in the past. The award is presented annually to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
There is one nominee per team each year. This year, the Ducks nominee is goaltender Jonas Hiller.
“Jonas faced a lot of adversity over the past year and responded tremendously,” said GM Bob Murray. “His performance this season makes him an ideal candidate for the 2011-12 Masterton Trophy.”
Hiller was on pace to be a Vezina trophy nominee last season when he was hit with vertigo. He only appeared in three games following the All-Star break. After needing the entire summer to recover, Hiller has rebounded beautifully this season. Prior to Wednesday’s game, Hiller led all NHL goaltenders in appearances (69) and starts (69). He has the franchise record for most starts in a single season by an Anaheim goaltender and has passed Guy Hebert’s club mark for most appearances in a single season.
Hiller has posted a 28-27-11 record with a 2.54 goals-against average (GAA) and .912 save percentage (SV%).
Considering that recovery from his vertigo appeared slim, Hiller has beaten the odds and clearly is a deserving nominee.
Other nominees include former Ducks goaltender Ray Emery, who actually was signed by Anaheim last season after it was clear Hiller was not going to be coming back any time soon. Emery, who had recovered from avascular necrosis in his hip, had not played for nearly an entire year when he joined the Ducks. Emery helped the Ducks sneak into the playoffs and performed admirably. He is now in the Chicago Blackhawks line up.
Dan Ellis Ready
Dan Ellis who? With Hiller in net so often, you almost forgot about the back up netminder. Ellis was out with a torn groin since early January. With his injury not progressing, Ellis headed to a specialist and ended up with surgery to repair a sports hernia, causing him to be out of the line up even longer.
Earlier this week, Ellis participated in his first practice in nearly three months.
“It was enjoyable,” said Ellis after the practice. “I’ve been working with [goaltending consultant] Pete Peeters a little bit just to work on some small controlled movements and stuff for about three or four days. Just got to the point where I was ready to get back out there and practice. Get in some situations that aren’t as predictable.”
Ellis has appeared in only 10 games this season and has just one win to his name. Considering the fact that the Ducks will not be in the post season, Hiller will likely still see the bulk of the remaining duties in net for the Ducks.
At least the Ducks have options.