SAINT PAUL/MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The Twin Cities chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA) announced the nomination of Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding for the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. The trophy is presented annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
Harding, 28 (6/18/84), is 1-1-0 with a 2.92 goals-against average (GAA), a .885 save percentage (SV%) and one shutout in four games with Minnesota this season. He stopped all 24 shots faced in his first start this season in a 1-0 victory against the Dallas Starts on Jan. 20. Harding was placed on Injured Reserved Feb. 12 and missed 33 games with the Wild as he battles multiple sclerosis, which was diagnosed last fall. He was recalled from the Houston Aeros (AHL) on Monday and activated from Injured Reserve after being assigned on a conditioning assignment April 16. Harding went 1-1-0, stopping 56-of-61 shots for a 3.00 GAA and .918 SV% in two starts with the Aeros last weekend helping Houston clinch a spot in the Calder Cup playoffs.
He went 13-12-4 with a 2.62 GAA, a .917 SV% and two shutouts in 34 appearances (30 starts) in 2011-12 after missing the 2010-11 season with a knee injury suffered Sept. 24, 2010, at St. Louis. The 6-foot-1, 199-pound native of Regina, Sask., has appeared in 121 games (98 starts) with Minnesota in parts of seven NHL seasons, going 42-52-8 with a 2.65 GAA, a .915 SV% and seven shutouts. Harding was selected by the Wild in the second-round (No. 38 overall) of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.
The winner of the Masterton Trophy is selected by a poll among the 30 chapters of the PHWA at the end of the regular season. Last year’s winner was Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty. NHL writers first presented the trophy in 1968 to commemorate the late Bill Masterton, who played for the Minnesota North Stars and exhibited to a high degree the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Masterton died on Jan. 15, 1968 as a result of head injuries suffered during a game.
Clayton Stoner (2011-12), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (2010-11), Guillaume Latendresse (2009-10), Kurtis Foster (2008-09), Aaron Voros (2007-08), Marian Gaborik (2006-07), Wes Walz (2005-06, 2000-01), Alexandre Daigle (2003-04), Dwayne Roloson (2002-03) and Richard Park (2001-02) were previously nominated for the award.Web