The three finalists for the Masterton Trophy are all forwards from Canadian hockey teams.
Daniel Alfredsson of the Ottawa Senators, Joffrey Lupul of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens were named Tuesday by the NHL as the nominees for the award that goes to the player who "best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey."
The 39-year-old Alfredsson came back from off-season back surgery and helped lead the upstart Senators back to the playoffs.
"It feels really good obviously to come back and play as well as I think I could. After a frustrating year, obviously the doctors did a great job with my surgery," Alfredsson in Ottawa on Tuesday. "I feel like it's getting much better this year, I'm having more fun playing. … It's been a great year and a great group to be a part of. A lot of fun."
Lupul's career was put on hold in 2010 by two back surgeries and a blood infection, but he rebounded to post career best numbers for the Maple Leafs.
Pacioretty showed no ill effect this season of the brutal check he suffered late in the 2010-11 season when Boston's Zdeno Chara rode him into the stanchion at Montreal's Bell Centre.
He set career highs in nearly every offensive category.
"Its an honor to be nominated for the Masterton trophy.. I want to thank everyone who has supported me along the way," Pacioretty tweeted on Tuesday.
Lupul is vacationing in Australia, according to The Canadian Press.
The trophy was presented by the NHL Writers’ Association in 1968 to commemorate the late Bill Masterton, the Minnesota North Stars forward who died that year.
GM Finalists: Armstrong, Poile, Tallon
Doug Armstrong of the St. Louis Blues, David Poile of the Nashville Predators and Dale Tallon of the Florida Panthers are the three finalists for the General Manager of the Year.
Voting is conducted by a panel that includes general managers, NHL executives, and print and broadcast media.
St. Louis finished second in the Western Conference and won its first Central Division title since 1999-2000. Armstrong pulled the trigger on a coaching change early in the season, replacing Davis Payne with Ken Hitchcock.
Among his moves in the offseason were acquisitions of goalie Brian Elliott, Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott. Elliott has enjoyed a breakout season and taken over No. 1 duties in the playoffs.
Nashville made the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years under Poile and is one of the deepest teams in the NHL.
The vast majority of the Predators players were drafted by the organization, and Poile reached an agreement to extend star goalie Pekka Rinne's contract this season. He also picked up Andrei Kostitsyn, Paul Gaustad and Hal Gill for the team's Stanley Cup run.
Tallon completely remade the Panthers, with over a dozen new faces joining the Florida team from other NHL locations. The veteran NHL executive also hired first year coach Kevin Dineen.
The Predators and Blues are headed to the second round of the playoffs, while the Panthers are one win away from the same status.
The winners of both awards will be announced at the NHL Awards ceremony in Las Vegas, broadcast on CBC on June 20.With files from The Canadian Press