The Carolina chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has nominated Curtis McElhinney for the Masterton Trophy, which honors perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
At 35, McElhinney thought any shot to lead a team to the playoffs as a starting goalie was long behind him. A waiver claim two days before opening night, sending him to his seventh NHL team, meant it wasn’t too late after all.
After almost 180 games over 11 years, almost all as a backup, he has made the most of his chance. Claimed as a stopgap solution for the injured Scott Darling, McElhinney emerged as the Hurricanes’ most reliable goaltending option as the team put itself in position to end a decade-long playoff drought.
“He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do and been a pro,” Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour said Thursday. “I don’t know that you could ask any more out of him, really. He’s done everything exceptionally well and obviously stopping pucks is the No. 1 thing and he’s done that for us.”
Despite being in the twilight of his career, with his knees perpetually encased in ice, McElhinney has set career-highs for starts and wins while playing a vital role in the Hurricanes’ return to competitiveness.
The past two nominees from the Carolina chapter of the PHWA have both been Masterton finalists, Jordan Staal (2018) and Derek Ryan (2017).
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association vote on the NHL’s first and second All-Star teams as well as the Hart, Norris, Calder, Selke and Masterton trophies.
The Carolina chapter also honors one player each year with the Josef Vasicek Award to acknowledge cooperation with the local media.
Past Carolina Masterton Trophy nominees
2018 Jordan Staal (NHL finalist)
2017 Derek Ryan (NHL finalist)
2016 Nathan Gerbe
2015 Nathan Gerbe
2014 Manny Malhotra
2013 Dan Ellis
2012 Jay Harrison
2011 Erik Cole
2010 Rod Brind’Amour
2009 Rod Brind’Amour
2008 Glen Wesley
2007 Erik Cole
2006 Bret Hedican
2005 no season
2004 Rod Brind’Amour
2003 Kevin Weekes
2002 Ron Francis (NHL finalist)
2001 Glen Wesley
2000 Sean Hill
1999 Arturs Irbe
1998 Kevin Dineen