The Bill Masterton Memorial trophy is awarded to the player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey”. Usually nominees are players who are coming off a big injury (Max Pacioretty), or players who have played through or come back from personal issues (Dominic Moore), or are old (Jaromir Jagr). The Leafs haven’t had a good enough individual story to win the award, but someone is getting the nomination regardless.

The Maple Leafs nominee hasn’t been revealed yet so I thought I would take a look through the roster and find the best nominee.

Frederik Andersen

Frederik Andersen has been a major part of the Maple Leafs season. Things didn’t start well for him, but he was recovering from an injury suffered during Olympic qualifications with the Danish team.

Would he be the nomination? No, his pre-season injury wasn’t big enough, and nothing he’s done has stood out in any major way. Being the Leafs starting goalie does require plenty of perseverance, but it’s not enough this year.

Brian Boyle

Hasn’t spent enough time with the Maple Leafs to have a major impact aside from being tall, but he had a good year with Tampa and is settling into the 4C role nicely.

Would he be the nomination? I doubt it. While role players get a chance to shine with this award, Boyle isn’t our guy.

Tyler Bozak

Tyler Bozak is one of the longest tenured Leafs this year, this is his seventh full time season with the team, and has finally cracked the 50 point mark.

Would he be the nomination? With his veteran presence on the Leafs and one of the few players on this team to have gone through the middling highs and extreme lows the Leafs have had, and coming out the other side with a career year at 31, Bozak has a legitimate shot at being the Leafs’ representative.

Connor Brown

Brown is one of many rookies on the Maple Leafs this season, and it’s impressive enough for so many young players to be having an impact on a team. That has it’s own trophy.

Would he be the nomination? Sorry, Connor, if I could give it to you for suffering as an Erie Otter I would, but no dice.

Connor Carrick

Picked up from the Capitals last year as consolation to taking on Brooks Laich’s contract, Connor Carrick has been in and out of the line up this season but is a solid defenseman.

Would he be the nomination? Like the other Connor, he’s not the guy this year.

Eric Fehr

The newest Toronto Maple Leaf lasted a few weeks in the press box until he got into a game. Then he broke his hand. Sorry Eric.

Would he be the nomination? No. I’m surprised I remember him actually.

Jake Gardiner

One of the most divisive Leafs his entire time with the team - people either love him or hate him, there are few opinions that are “he’s ok”. Gardiner has had a great season for the Maple Leafs, pairing mostly with Nikita Zaitsev as the second pair.

Would he be the nomination? He has an interesting case for perseverance and just sticking around through multiple coaches, and playing through the different systems that a better writer could articulate, but it’s not going to be Jake.

Matt Hunwick

Okay, I keep forgetting he’s on the team. People complain about the bottom pair so much, but I forget the ‘Hun’ in Hunlak.

Would he be the nomination? Nope. Bottom pairing D with no story.

Zach Hyman

Another Leafs rookie, Hyman is having an average season and he’s Matthews’ line mate for life at the moment.

Would he be the nomination? If Fulemin was a voter he would be, but Hyman would be my nominee for whatever trophy goes to someone who is given all the chances, the best line mates, but scores less than ten goals.

Nazem Kadri

No one has persevered as much as Nazem Kadri. Splitting three seasons with the Leafs and Marlies before getting the full time call up, Kadri has rightly or wrongly been the focus of what is wrong with the Leafs in some corners. Under the new direction of coach Mike Babcock, Nazem Kadri has grown into a new player, one who is having a career year points wise, and embracing his role with Leo Komarov in making the opposing team hate playing against them.

Would he be the nomination? Kadri has had such a great season, there’s a good case for him to be the nominee just for the way everyone has come around on him as a player. I think the only thing going against him at the moment is that he’s not as well liked by the media.

Leo Komarov

The Finnish pest is having a great time with Kadri, and playing the exact role that’s wanted from him: Annoying little brother.

Would he be the nomination? No, he’s super talented everywhere in his life (sports, languages, music), but he’s not our guy.

Josh Leivo

Would he be the nomination? Leivo was injured to start the year, then spent the majority of it in the press box, ignored while so many people demanded Frank Corrado. When he’s been given the chance to play he’s been excellent on the fourth line and coach Mike Babcock has said he’s only getting squeezed out of the lineup because Sosnikov is a better penalty killer. He could be it. He’s been a good soldier sitting off the ice and never complaining about it to the internet newspapers.

Alexey Marchenko

Would he be the nomination? A waiver wire pick up from Detroit, he’s been in and out of the lineup and never solidified a role for the Leafs other than “spare defenseman”. No, it’s hard enough to remember he’s on the team.

Martin Marincin

Would he be the nomination?  Brought over to the Leafs from Edmonton, he was a standard on the Maple Leafs blueline last season, but has only suited up for 25 games this season so far due to an injury suffered in  With such little icetime, Marincin hasn’t had the chance to make enough of an impact to be considered.

Mitchell Marner

Would he be the nomination? If you count playing with the weight for four MVP awards on his shoulders, I guess he could be considered.

Matt Martin

Brought in to the Maple Leafs for a veteran presence and to be the mentor/babysitter for the rookies, Martin has been everything that he’s been asked to be by management. Hate the contract all you want, but judging on comments from the players, they seem to love having him around.

Would he be the nomination? I could possibly see the Toronto PHWA stretching things to give him the nomination, but he’d be below Bozak and Kadri I think.

Auston Matthews

4 goals in his first game, most likely breaking the rookie points record, controlling his destiny by shunning the NCAA and CHL and getting paid for his draft year. Matthews is dedicated to hockey, but he’s not Masterton Material.

Would he be the nomination?  Auston Matthews is your Calder winning, and no one has won both in one season. He’ll have to settle for being awesome.

Curtis McElhinney

A waiver wire back up goalie, who’s okay.

Would he be the nomination? No, he won’t be.

William Nylander

The sometimes forgotten rookie, he’s been showing off his skill outside the Marner/Matthews spotlight. Like then other two he’s got a different award in his sights.

Would he be the nomination? He should be for succeeding this season despite TSN trying to have him traded out of town every chance they got.

Roman Polak

The oft maligned defenseman for the Maple Leafs, Polak has played the majority of Leafs games up to this point.

Would he be the nomination? After being attacked by big meanie bloggers and tweeters all season long, yeah he deserves some recognition for surviving all that.

Morgan Rielly

Being much younger than you realized (he’s 23), Rielly is still being groomed for the 1D position that the Maple Leafs want him to become.

Would he be the nomination? No, he hasn’t had anything outstanding this year to get him noticed enough.

Ben Smith

OMG! Ben Smith has ruined this list by appearing on it.

Would he be the nomination? No. He’d ruin the reputation of the Toronto PHWA, just like he ruins the fourth line every time he shows up.

Nikita Soshnikov

Despite being the reason Josh Leivo isn’t on the ice, Soshnikov is very well appreciated and trusted by Mike Babcock.

Would he be the nomination? No, he’s there, but nothing stands out to nominate him for.

James van Riemsdyk

The 100th greatest Maple Leafs of all time, and top piece of trade bait for the Maple Leafs twittersphere, JVR could get the old guy nomination for his 8 seasons(?) in the NHL...

Would he be the nomination? No, he’s not that old.

Nikita Zaitsev

Zaitsev came over from the KHL this off season and has established himself firmly into the Leafs top 3 defensemen.

Would he be the nomination? If you believe all the talk about the KHL being a hell hole of no payments, no equipment, and mob rule then yes, he’s more than earned his spot as the nominee.

There you have it, each member of the Maple Leafs roster, and my thoughts on them and the Masterton.

If I was a voting member, I’d throw my hat into Kadri’s ring, but thinking of everyone who’s voting, I would say the nomination goes to Tyler Bozak. He won’t make it to the top three or anything, I wouldn’t bet on anyone other than Craig Anderson this year.

Below is a poll and share your thoughts in the comments on who the nominee could be.

Who would you make the Maple Leafs nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy?

Frederik Andersen16
Brian Boyle2
Tyler Bozak65
Connor Brown8
Connor Carrick2
Eric Fehr1
Jake Gardiner4
Matt Hunwick3
Zach Hyman5
Nazem Kadri185
Leo Komarov13
Josh Leivo7
Alexey Marchenko0
Martin Marincin0
Mitchell Marner9
Matt Martin4
Auston Matthews6
Curtis McElhinney5
William Nylander9
Roman Polak12
Morgan Rielly5
Ben Smith6
Nikita Soshnikov0
James van Riemsdyk8
Nikita Zaitsev12