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Keller, Letang, Stalock named finalists for NHL's Masterton Trophy

Arizona Coyotes Clayton Keller Nick Schmaltz - The Canadian Press

NEW YORK — Arizona Coyotes right-winger Clayton Keller, Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Kris Letang and Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock are the finalists for the 2022-23 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

The award is presented annually to the player who "best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey."

Keller suffered a fractured femur during a game versus the San Jose on March 30, 2022 and underwent six months of rehab to be ready for the start of what became a career season in 2022-23.

He appeared in all 82 games and set career highs in goals (37), assists (49) and points (86) and represented the Coyotes at the all-star game.

Letang persevered through his second stroke and the death of his father within a span of four weeks during the season.

He remained an effective part of the Penguins' defence in his 17th season with the club, ranking 10th among all NHL players in ice time per game (24:51) and recording 41points in 64 games.

Letang was runner-up for the award to Minnesota goaltender Devan Dubnyk in 2014-15.

The 35-year-old Stalock had appeared in one NHL game over the prior two seasons, having been diagnosed with myocarditis after testing positive for COVID-19 in 2019-20.

He battled through setbacks ranging from concussions to oculomotor dysfunction, a vision problem that affects the central nervous system and finished the season at 9-15-2 with a 3.01 goals-against average in 27 games.

The winner will be announced on June 26 at the 2023 NHL Awards in Nashville, Tenn.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2023.