Bill Masterton Nominees

It's that time of the year again, and a lot of people begin to make their predictions over who will win which awards when the NHL holds its yearly award ceremony in Las Vegas in June.

While we'll have ample time to discuss the winners of the Hart, Selke and Vezina trophy, among others, but today, we'll look at the nominees for the Bill Masterton trophy.

Selected by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, ''The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey.''

You'll normally find the feel good story of the year as the recipient of this award, especially if that person has overcome some sort of career or even life threatening injury.

For instance, last year's winner was Steve Sullivan, who missed nearly two seasons due to a fragmented disc in his spine, as well as a groin injury. Teemu Selanne won it in 2006 after major knee surgery, and Bryan Berard received the award in 2004 after being declared legally blind. Three recipients of the award in the last decade overcame cancer to win the award, including Saku Koivu in 2002, Phil Kessel in 2007 and Jason Blake in 2008.

With only a few days remaining in the season, all but six of the 30 nominees (one from each team) have been announced, as reported by James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail:`

Anaheim: Teemu Selanne
Atlanta: Jim Slater
Boston: Mark Recchi
Buffalo: TBA
Calgary: Craig Conroy
Carolina: Rod Brind’Amour
Chicago: TBA
Colorado: Matt Hendricks
Columbus: Jared Boll
Dallas: TBA
Detroit: Tomas Holmstrom
Edmonton: TBA
Florida: Bryan Allen
Los Angeles: Brad Richardson
Minnesota: Guillaume Latendresse
Montreal: Jaroslav Halak
Nashville: Joel Ward
New Jersey: Patrik Elias
NY Islanders: TBA
NY Rangers: Chris Drury
Ottawa: Matt Carkner
Philadelphia: Mike Leighton
Phoenix: Vernon Fiddler
Pittsburgh: Bill Guerin
San Jose: TBA
St. Louis: Erik Johnson
Tampa Bay: Kurtis Foster
Toronto: Jonas Gustavsson
Vancouver: Henrik Sedin
Washington: Jose Theodore

Who do you think deserves the award? What nomination surprises you? Should a certain team have chosen someone else? Discuss below in the comments!