Awards=HOF? Part Forty: The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

Awards=HOF? Part Forty: The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy
31 Oct
Not in Hall of Fame

We here at thought it would be fun to take a look at the major awards in North American team sports and see how it translates into Hall of Fame potential.

Needless to say, different awards in different sports yield hall of fame potential.  In basketball, the team sport with the least number of players on a roster, the dividend for greatness much higher.  In baseball, it is not as much as a great individual season does not have the same impact.

After the last three focused on awards issued in the NFL, we are returning to the National Hockey League and the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

This is a very unique award that does not necessarily reflect on-ice accomplishments.  It was created to honor Bill Masterton of the Minnesota North Stars, who died on January 15, 1968 after sustaining an injury during a game.  The Award is given to the player who best exemplifies the quality of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.  Each NHL team nominates one player from their team for the accolade.

Generally, the player who wins this award usually comes back from a serious injury or any other ailment that could be career-threatening.  

So how many players have won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy have been enshrined to the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Let’s find out!

The following are the past players who have won the Bill Masterton Memorial Award in the NHL who are eligible for the Hockey Hall of Fame and have been enshrined.

Jean Ratelle, New York Rangers (1971)

Ratelle was one of the cleanest players in hockey and was also one of the classiest.  This was like a lifetime achievement award, even though his career was only in the mid-way mark.  Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.

Bobby Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers (1972)

Considering Bobby Clarke was only 22 when he won this, it would not start a trend where young players would win the Masterton. In 1972, Clarke was a rising star and had overcome diabetes to play at a high level.  He would become an elite player shortly after and also a three-time Hart Trophy winner and two-time Stanley Cup Champion.  Clarke also became the first Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy winner who would also win the Hart at one time in his career.  Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987.

Henri Richard, Montreal Canadiens (1974)

This was viewed as a bit of a lifetime achievement award for Henri Richard’s whose career was nearing the end.  “The Pocket Rocket” would end up winning a whopping 11 Stanley Cups in a career spent entirely with Montreal.  Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979.

Rod Gilbert, New York Rangers (1976)

Gilbert played his entire career with the Rangers and this was near the end of it.  The forward scored 1,021 Points and he overcame a back injury early in his career. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982.

Serge Savard, Montreal Canadiens (1979)

Serge Savard won his eight Stanley Cup with the Habs this year and he was also a Second Team All-Star this year, the only time he earned this honor.  The Defenseman was the first Bill Masterton Memorial Award winner to be named a post season NHL All-Star.  Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986.

Lanny McDonald, Calgary Flames (1983)

McDonald was one of the most popular players with fans and teammates alike and this was his greatest season in terms of stats. McDonald would score 66 Goals and 98 Points, both career-highs and he would be named a Second Team All-Star, which was the first time he earned a post season All-Star accolade.  In his final season, he would win the Stanley Cup with the Flames.  Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.

Brad Park, Detroit Red Wings (1984)

This was Brad Park’s first season in Detroit, and his penultimate campaign in the NHL.  He was one the more beloved players in the league, and was still a strong performer as he had 58 Points this year.  Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988.

Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins (1993)

Choosing Mario Lemieux had to be the easiest decision in this award’s history.  Lemieux came back to hockey after contracting Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and despite missing 22 Games, he would win the Hart Trophy. Ted Lindsay Award and Art Ross Trophy. No other player who won the Bill Masterton award has a year this good in the same campaign.   Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997.

Cam Neely, Boston Bruins (1994)

Cam Neely had injury upon injury pile up and he only played 22 Games in 1991-92 and 1992-93 combined.  He came during this year and scored 50 Goals, while only playing 49 Games and he would be named a Second Team All-Star.  He would only be able to play 89 Games more in the NHL and he had to retire at the age of 30.  Neely went down in history as one of the most popular Bruins players ever, which says a lot when you think of all the legends who wore the “B”.   Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.

Pat LaFontaine, Buffalo Sabres (1995)

In the year prior, Pat LaFontaine suffered a severe concussion and the post-concussion syndrome forced him to miss most of that season and this season.  He returned to play 22 Games and scored 27 Points.  LaFontaine would later suffer more concussions and would be forced to retire in 1998.   Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.

Steve Yzerman, Detroit Red Wings (2003)

By this point in his career, Steve Yzerman had already won three Stanley Cups but he suffered a massive knee injury, and would have a knee realignment done.  The Red Wing would come back to play 16 Games this year.  Yzerman would play two more seasons and would score 1,755 Points in his Hall of Fame career.   Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.

Teemu Selanne, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (2006)

This was a true comeback year for Teemu Selanne in every sense of the word.  Selanne recovered from knee surgery to have a 90 Point campaign, which was the first time he reached that plateau in seven years.  Selanne would have a 94 point year the season after and would take the Ducks to win the Stanley Cup   Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017.


The following are the players who have won the Bill Masterton Memorial Award in the NHL who are eligible for the Hockey Hall of Fame and have not been selected:

Claude Provost, Montreal Canadiens (1968)

Claude Provost was one of the best two-way players of his day, and in 1968, he was nearing the end of his career.  This year, Provost had won his eighth of nine Stanley Cups, and he would play two more seasons in the NHL  Ranked #12 on

Ted Hampson, Oakland Seals (1969)

After an injury riddled 1967-68 season, Oakland Seals’ Team Captain, Ted Hampson responded with the best year of his career with a 75 Point outage.  He would later win the Paul Deneau Award in the WHA as that league’s most gentlemanly player.  Hampson combined NHL/WHA career would see him accumulate 556 Points.  Unrankedon

Pit Martin, Chicago Blackhawks (1970)

While Pit Martin was not the best player on the Chicago Blackhawks, he was the heartbeat of the team.  Martin helped Chicago go from worst to first that year and he would score 63 Points as well post his first (of three) 30 Goal seasons. Ranked #126on

Lowell McDonald, Pittsburgh Penguins (1973)

Lowell McDonald only played 10 Games in the year before due to severe cartilage damage to his knees.  The 1972-73 Season campaign saw the Penguin score 75 Points, which was then a record for him.  He would score 390 Points over 506 NHL Games.  Unrankedon

Don Luce, Buffalo Sabres (1975)

This was the best season that Don Luce ever had as his 33 Goals and 76 Points were a career-high.  Luce scored 526 Points over his career and he would finish in the top ten in Frank J. Selke Award three times.  This was the only award that Luce would win.  Unrankedon

Ed Westfall, New York Islanders (1977)

Westfall would win this award for being one of the great on-ice leaders of the game, and this occurred late in his career. Westfall won two Stanley Cups earlier with the Boston Bruins.  Unrankedon

Butch Goring, Los Angeles Kings (1978)

Goring would win this based on carving out a successful NHL career despite being slight in stature.  Goring would win the Lady Byng Trophy, making him the first Masterton winner to secure a second award in the same year.  He would later join the New York Islanders and would win four Stanley Cups.  Ranked #38 on

Al MacAdam, Minnesota North Stars (1980)

MacAdam was a gritty player who in 1979-80 would post his best career numbers.  That year he would 42 Goals, 51 Assists and 93 Points, all career-highs, as was his +36. Unranked on

Blake Dunlop, St. Louis Blues (1981)

This was Dunlop’s breakout year, where had 67 Assists and 87 Points, both of which were career-highs.  Unranked on

Glenn Resch, Colorado Rockies (1982)

The Colorado Rockies of the NHL were never any good, but Glenn Resch brought them respectability.  He had previously been a Second Team All-Star twice and a two-time Stanley Cup Champion with the New York Islanders.  Unranked on

Anders Hedberg, New York Rangers (1985)

Anders Hedberg became the first European to win this award and he was an initial trailblazer for showing the NHL that Swedish players could compete at an elite level in North America.  This was Hedberg’s final season in the NHL, and he would score 51 Points, and 855 in the NHL and WHA combined.  Unranked on

Charlie Simmer, Boston Bruins (1986)

Charlie Simmer scored 60 Points this year and he remained a good NHL sniper despite having extensive ligament damage.  He was a former two-time First Team All-Star and would put the puck in the net 342 times over his career.  Ranked #112 on

Doug Jarvis, Hartford Whalers (1987)

This was a special season where Doug Jarvis would break the record of consecutive games of 915 Games.  He would eventually play 964 Games in a row.  Ranked #70 on

Bob Bourne, Los Angeles Kings (1988)

This was the final season of Bob Bourne’s career, and 14thoverall.  Bourne had previously won four Stanley Cups with the New York Islanders and would score 582 Points overall.  Unranked on

Tim Kerr, Philadelphia Flyers (1989)

From 1983-84 to 1986-87, Tim Kerr was a 50 Goal scorer but in 1987-88, he was only able to play eight games due to knee and shoulder issues.  He bounced back this season to score 48 Goals.  Ranked #67 on

Gord Kluzak, Boston Bruins (1990)

Gord Kluzak was the first overall draft pick in 1982, and for the first few years the blueliner was the shutdown blueliner they expected him to be.  Sadly, he suffered knee injury after knee injury and in 1988-89 he was only able to play three Games.  This year, he fought back, but knee surgeries held him to only eight games, but the fact that he played at all was bordered on miraculous.  He played two more games and after his tenth knee surgery, he had to call it a career.  Unranked on

Dave Taylor, Los Angeles Kings (1991)

Dave Taylor spent all of his 17 years in the National Hockey League with the Los Angeles Kings.  This was year 14.  Taylor was one of the most respected players in hockey and he also won the King Clancy Award this year, making him the first to win both in the same season.  Ranked #20 on

Mark Fitzpatrick, New York Islanders (1992)

Mark Fitzpatrick missed most of the previous campaign due to Eosinophilia-myalgia, a potentially fatal neural disease.  He would come back to play 30 games in net for the Isles this year.  He would play until the 1999-00 Season.  Unranked on

Gary Roberts, Calgary Flames (1996)

Gary Roberts would suffer nerve issues with his neck that caused him to miss most of the 1994-95 season and he was only able to play 35 Games this year.  In what could have been a career ending injury, Roberts continued to play more than a decade more until he was 42.  Ranked #74 on

Tony Granato, San Jose Sharks (1997)

Tony Granato would have a head injury in a game on January of 1996 that was so bad that he suffered bleeding in the left lobe of his brain.  He would come back to hockey after brain surgery where the Shark would have a 40 Point campaign.  Unranked on

Jamie McLennan, St. Louis Blues (1998)

Jamie McLennan was playing for the New York Islanders and he would suffer from bacterial meningitis that would be life threatening.  McLennan missed a lot of time and he would come back to the NHL with St. Louis where he played 30 Games with a 2.17 GAA.  Unranked on

John Cullen, Tampa Bay Lightning (1999)

The career of John Cullen seemed to end when he contacted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1997.  The Center had to sit out the 1997-98 season but he managed to come back to the NHL and was in four Games for the Lightning that year, before he would retire for good.  Unranked on

Kan Daneyko, New Jersey Devils (2000)

Ken Daneyko did not come back from an injury, but he did battle alcoholism, which likely kept him in the NHL.  Daneyko had a long career in hockey, with all 20 seasons being served in a New Jersey Devils jersey.  He would win three Stanley Cups over his career.  Unranked on

Adam Graves, New York Rangers (2001)

We have used the term “Lifetime Achievement Award” in relation to this particular accolade, and we will use it again for Adam Graves’ 2001 Masterton win.  The Left Wing was a grizzled vet by this time and had previously won the Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers in 1994.  Ranked #72 on

Saku Koivu, Montreal Canadiens (2002)

Saku Koivu was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma in September before the season, and it was expected that he would miss the entire year.  Koivu shocked everyone by returning with three games left in the year and he would also participate in the playoffs.  Unranked on

Brian Berard, Chicago Blackhawks (2004)

In 1997, Brian Berard was the Calder Trophy in 1997 and would later suffer an injury to his eye.  Berard would be legally blind in one eye and he won this award due to his perseverance to continue to play.  This season would see Berard score a career high 47 Points.  Unranked on

Jason Blake, Toronto Maple Leafs (2008)

Jason Blake would be diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia but would play the entire year.  He would have 52 Points this campaign.  Unranked on

Steve Sullivan, Nashville Predators (2009)

After having a 60 Point year in 2006-07, Steve Sullivan would later have issues that would cause him to miss a year and parts of two others due to fragmented disc and groin issues.  Unranked on

Jose Theodore, Washington Capitals (2010)

Jose Theodore was a surprise winner of the Hart Trophy and Vezina in 2002, and this was his best year since that campaign.  This year, Theodore had to deal with the death of his young son due to the complications of a premature birth.  Unranked on

Ian Laperriere, Philadelphia Flyers (2011)

In the 2010 playoffs, Laperriere blocked a shot with his face that resulted in post-concussion syndrome.  He would not play this year, and for that matter ever again. This would make him the first player to win this after his career was technically over.  Unranked on

Josh Harding, Minnesota Wild (2013)

Josh Harding would come back after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the off-season, and would manage to play in five regular season games and the playoffs.  Harding played in 29 Games the following season and he would lead the NHL in Save Percentage (.933) and Goals Against Average (1.66).  That was the last year for Harding as he had a broken foot to begin the 2014-15 season, and after issues with his MS came up, he never played in the NHL again.  Unranked on

Let’s update our tally, shall we?

Award in Question

Percentage of recipients who have entered the HOF

Percentage of recipients by year who have entered the HOF.




NHL Norris



NBA All Star Game MVP



NHL Conn Smythe



NFL AP Offensive Player of the Year



NHL Lady Byng



NFL Defensive Player of the Year



NFL Super Bowl MVP



NBA Defensive Player of the Year



NBA Rookie of the Year



NFL Pro Bowl MVP



MLB Lou Gehrig Award



MLB Roberto Clemente Award



MLB/NL/AL Cy Young Award



MLB Babe Ruth Award



NHL Frank J. Selke Trophy



MLB Hutch Award



NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year



NHL Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy



MLB Edgar Martinez Award



MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (Designated Hitter)



MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (Shortstop)



MLB (NL/AL) Gold Glove



NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year



MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (Catcher)



MLB (NL/AL) Gold Glove (Second Base)



MLB (NL/AL) Gold Glove (Shortstop)



MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (Pitcher)



MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (Second Base)



MLB (NL/AL) Gold Glove (Outfield)



MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (Outfield)



MLB (NL/AL) Gold Glove (Third Base)



MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (Third Base)



MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (First Base)



MLB (NL/AL) Rookie of the Year



MLB (NL/AL) Gold Glove (Catcher)



NBA Most Improved Player of the Year



MLB (NL/AL) Gold Glove (First Base)



NFL AP Comeback Player of the Year



So, who is up next?

The following are the players who have won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy in the National Hockey League who have retired but have not met the mandatory years out of the game to qualify for the Pro Football Hall of Fame:

Dominic Moore, New York Rangers, (2014)

Moore returned to the NHL after taking 18 months off to tend to his wife, Katie, who was battling a rare form of liver cancer. She would pass away in January of 2013. Moore returned to the league with the New York Rangers playing 73 Games.  Eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2021.

The following are the players who have won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy who are still active.

Phil Kessel, Boston Bruins, (2007)

Phil Kessel became the first player to win the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy as a rookie.  Kessel contracted testicular cancer, and missed 12 Games this year. He still managed to have a 29 Point year.  32 Years Old, Playing for the Arizona Coyotes.

Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens, (2012)

In the 2010-11 season, Max Pacioretty was knocked out of a game with a concussion and a fractured vertebra.  He returned with his first 60 Point season.  30 Years Old, Playing for the Vegas Golden Knights.

Devan Dubynk, Minnesota Wild, (2015)

Devan Dubynk was carving out a decent career, though it was unremarkable.  He had played 171 Games in net for the Edmonton Oilers and was traded to the Nashville Predators in 2014 but only played there for two Games.  The Goalie signed with the Arizona Coyotes, where he played for 19 Games and had a 2.72 Goals Against Average, and was traded midseason to the Minnesota Wild.  Dubynk then wet on fire, taking them to the playoffs, where he went 27-9-2 with a 1.78 GAA.  He would be named an All-Star and was a Second Team All-Star that year.  He has since gone to two more All-Stars with Minnesota.  33 Years Old, Playing for the Minnesota Wild.

Jaromir Jagr, Pittsburgh Penguins, (2016)

How was Jaromir Jagr still playing in the NHL, and at a level where he scored 66 Points.  How is that not showing off a dedication to hockey?  47 Years Old, Playing for HC Kladno in the Czech League.

Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators,(2017)

Anderson had a rough personal year as he had taken some time off mid-season, where he had tend to his wife who was diagnosed with cancer.  He returned and took the Senators to a surprise conference Final.  38 Years Old, Playing for the Ottawa Senators.

Brian Boyle, New Jersey Devils,(2018)

Brian Boyle was diagnosed with myeloid leukemia in training camp, which caused him to miss the start of the season.  Boyle returned in November and had a 23 Point season.  35 Years Old, Playing for the Florida Panthers.

Robin Lehner, New York Islanders,(2019)

Robin Lehner went public in the off-season about his battles with alcoholism and bi-polar disorder.  He came back with a career-high 2.13 Goals Against Average over 46 Games.  He would also win the William M. Jennings Award, making him the first to do win the Jennings and Masterton in the same year.  28 Years Old, Playing for the Chicago Blackhawks.

As you can see, the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy does not go to the same person twice, and we don’t expect that will change in the future.

We will go back to the diamond and the most important individual award they have, the MVP.

As always, we thank you for that support and look for that soon!

Committee Chairman

Kirk Buchner, "The Committee Chairman", is the owner and operator of the site.  Kirk can be contacted at [email protected] .

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