The 30 nominees for the 2016 Masterton Trophy, which each year goes to the player "who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey," have been whittled down to three finalists: Florida Panthers right wing Jaromir Jagr, New York Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello and recently retired Pittsburgh Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis.
The 44-year-old Jagr led the Panthers in scoring with 66 points in 79 games and helped guide a relatively young squad to an unexpected Atlantic Division title. He became the oldest player in the long history of the NHL to reach the 60-point plateau.
Dupuis suited up in 18 games (2G/2A) this season before he was forced to call it quits due to blood clots in his lungs, an issue he also dealt with in 2014. The 37-year-old remained with the Penguins organization as an adviser.
Zuccarello returned this season after suffering a brain contusion in last year's playoffs. The 28-year-old Nord played in all but one of the Rangers' regular season games and posted a career-high 61 points to lead the team in scoring. The 26 goals he scored were also a career-best.
All three are worthy candidates, but I'd say Jagr is the player this year that best exemplifies the spirit of the award. The winner of the Masterton will announced on June 22, at the 2016 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.