The professional hockey writers in St. Louis have selected Brian Elliott as the Masterton Trophy nominee from the St. Louis Blues. The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (shortened to Masterton Trophy) is awarded to the individual that exhibits "to a high degree the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey". The award is typically given to a player that's had a huge resurrection of his career or to a player that's recovered from an extremely serious injury. Each NHL club submits their nominee and the winner is selected by the Professional Hockey Writers Association and named at the NHL Awards show during the summer.
If this headline sounds familiar it's because Elliott was also nominated for the award last season.
For the second consecutive year, Elliott is the obvious nominee for the Masterton out of St. Louis. However, though Elliott has been nominated a second time in as many seasons, the circumstances are slightly different for his second nomination.
In 2011-12, Elliott came to the Blues joined the Blues as a giant question mark. How would he fit into the roster? Would he win the #2 job behind Jaroslav Halak over Ben Bishop? As we all learned, Elliott not only won the job over Bishop, but went on to post a 23-10-4 record with a ridiculous 1.56 GAA. In just under a year, Elliott went from struggling goaltender that had bounced to his third team in two seasons to arguably the best goaltender in the NHL. Elliott's Masterton nomination was a no-brainer.
As for Elliott's nomination in 2013, the circumstances are a bit different. This time he approached the 2013 season with enormous expectations. Blues fans expected their goaltending to be the team's strongest asset thanks to the dynamic duo of Halak and Elliott. Low and behold, Halak went down with an injury and Elliott was called to center stage. Did he answer the call? Nope. It didn't even reach his voicemail. How bad did things get? So bad that Elliott lost his job to Jake Allen and was sent down on a conditioning assignment in March. Again, as we know Elliott returned from his stint with the Peoria Rivermen and he brought his outstanding form from 2011-12 with him. In April, Elliott is 8-2-0 with a 1.37 GAA and has led his team from the fringe of the playoff picture to a guaranteed spot (99.9% guaranteed spot, that is).
Elliott's struggles and eventual success occurred under different circumstances compared to last year's nomination, but he's still a solid candidate for the award this season. Elliott's story in the past month has been a tremendous one and arguably the best one on the St. Louis roster in 2013.