Pascal Dupuis made the tough decision, after playing in just 18 games of the 2015-16 season, to hang up his skates for good – but his comeback story from the year prior and his determination to remain healthy haven’t gone unnoticed.
The recently-retired Penguins forward was named one of the three finalists for the Masterton Trophy for the 2015-16 season, joining fellow veteran forward Jaromir Jagr and Norwegian forward Mats Zuccarello as the trio of finalists for the league’s award given for ‘the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey’.
Dupuis was able to come back for 18 games after missing the majority of the 2014-15 season with blood clots – and although he was ultimately unable to finish out the current season due to his health concerns, his dedication to returning to the ice made him a logical candidate for one of the final three players up for the award.
Zuccarello is an intriguing finalist, as he made one of the most impressive comebacks in the league after his injury in the 2015 postseason. The 28-year-old winger missed the majority of the playoffs with a brain contusion sustained early in the postseason, and was rendered unable to speak – but he not only came back from the injury, he came back enough to finish the season with a career high 26 goals and 61 points to lead his team in scoring.
The final player listed of the three, of course, is unsurprising as well; the 44-year-old Jagr managed to have a 27 goal, 66 point season with the Panthers, helping the team into the postseason. His ability to defy the ‘age’ odds and help the Atlantic Division club to such a tremendous season was certainly deserving of the honor.
The winner of the award will be announced at the 2016 NHL Awards this June in Las Vegas, Nevada.