APRIL 25, 2022
COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has nominated Blue Jackets forward Justin Danforth for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, the club announced today. The award is given annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
Danforth, 29, made his NHL debut with Columbus this season at the age of 28 on November 15 vs. Detroit and notched his first career goal in the following game at Arizona (vs. goaltender Scott Wedgewood) on November 18. He has recorded nine goals and four assists for 13 points with eight penalty minutes and 68 shots, while averaging 12:26 of ice time in 42 games in his first NHL campaign. After originally signing a one-year contract with Columbus on May 4, 2021, he agreed to a two-year contract extension last month.
The 5-9, 188-pound native of Oshawa, Ontario played four seasons of college hockey at Sacred Heart University from 2013-17 and is the first player in program history to appear in an NHL game. He split his first two professional seasons between the American Hockey League and ECHL before joining Lukko in Finland’s Liiga, where he went on to notch 45-67-112, 99 penalty minutes and a cumulative +33 plus/minus rating in two seasons from 2018-20. He captured the Lasse Oksanen Award as the League’s Best Player, the Golden Helmet (top scorer) and was named to the All-Star Team in 2019-20 after leading the league in points and ranking second in goals and fourth-T in assists with 27-33-60 in 56 appearances. He spent his third season overseas with Vityaz Podolsk in Russia’s KHL in 2020-21 and ranked fifth-T in the league in power play goals, sixth in points and seventh-T in goals with 23-32-55 and 12 PPG in 58 appearances.
The winner of the Masterton Trophy is selected by a poll of the 32 chapters of the PHWA at the conclusion of the regular season. The trophy was first presented by the NHL writers in 1968 in honor of the late Bill Masterton, a player for the Minnesota North Stars who exhibited the qualities for which the trophy embodies, and who died on Jan. 15, 1968. Last season’s winner was Oskar Lindblom of the Philadelphia Flyers. Previous Blue Jackets nominees for the award include: Kevin Dineen (2000-01 and 2001-02, finalist both years), Luke Richardson (2002-03), Manny Malhotra (2003-04), Duvie Westcott (2005-06), Fredrik Norrena (2006-07), Pascal Leclaire (2007-08), Raffi Torres (2008-09), Jared Boll (2009-10), Derek MacKenzie (2010-11), Curtis Sanford (2011-12), Vinny Prospal (2012-13), Nick Foligno (2013-14, 2014-15 and finalist in 2018-19), Fedor Tyutin (2015-16), Sergei Bobrovsky (2016-17), Zach Werenski (2017-18), Nathan Gerbe (2019-20) and Zac Dalpe (2020-21).
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