The NHL cancelled their annual awards show, set to air in Las Vegas on June 17. But they didn’t cancel the awards. They’ve been cagey about how exactly they will announce the winners, but the segment of the awards that have nominees will be announced in a regularly scheduled manner, preceded by leaks, which is now as traditional as the awards themselves.

The first award nominees to be announced is for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. This trophy is awarded to the player best exemplifying perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. The nominees, three finalists and eventual winner are chosen by the members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, and a grant is given each year to the Bill Masterton Scholarship Fund.

Last year’s winner was Robin Lehner, and in the modern era, the award has become fairly closely tied to recovery from health issues. Jason Blake is the last Maple Leaf to win the award in 2008.

This year’s Maple Leafs nominee is Zach Hyman, and he, along with many players on the full list, was coming back from a major injury this season. The Marlies got to see Stephen Johns triumphant return from a very long layoff due to concussion symptoms when he did a short, sharp and painful (to us) tour of the AHL on the Texas Stars. Our old friend James Reimer wasn’t the most famous man to take the net in Carolina, but he did struggle mightily with injury.

Bobby Ryan publicly dealt with addiction issues and then triumphantly returned to score a hat trick in his first game back. Shea Theodore discovered a cancer very early because of testing for doping at the World Championships last summer. Oskar Lindblom, still in treatment, discovered his bone cancer in December. Theodore had an excellent season, but Lindblom won’t play this year at all.

Every player on the list has a story, and every one of them is dedicated to the sport.

2020 Masterton Trophy Nominees

Anaheim DucksRyan Miller
Arizona CoyotesConor Garland
Boston BruinsKevan Miller
Buffalo SabresCurtis Lazar
Calgary FlamesMark Giordano
Carolina HurricanesJames Reimer
Chicago BlackhawksCorey Crawford
Colorado AvalancheRyan Graves
Columbus Blue JacketsNathan Gerbe
Dallas StarsStephen Johns
Detroit Red WingsRobby Fabbri
Edmonton OilersConnor McDavid
Florida PanthersNoel Acciari
Los Angeles KingsJonathan Quick
Minnesota WildAlex Stalock
Montreal CanadiensShea Weber
Nashville PredatorsJarred Tinordi
New Jersey DevilsTravis Zajac
New York IslandersThomas Hickey
New York RangersHenrik Lunkqvist
Ottawa SenatorsBobby Ryan
Philadelphia FlyersOskar Lindblom
Pittsburgh PenguinsEvgeni Malkin
San Jose SharksJoe Thornton
St. Louis BluesJay Bouwmeester
Tampa Bay LightningAlex Killorn
Toronto Maple LeafsZach Hyman
Vancouver CanucksJacob Markstrom
Vegas Golden KnightsShea Theodore
Washington CapitalsMichal Kempny
Winnipeg JetsMark Letestu