Throughout the day today the Professional Hockey Writers Association will be revealing all 31 nominees for the 2018-19 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, but Edmonton Oilers insider Mark Spector managed to break the news of the Oilers’ selection early.
Receiving the first major NHL Award nomination of his entire career is Oilers defenseman Andrej Sekera.
For the unaware, the Masterton Trophy is awarded to the NHL player who best exemplifies qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Suffice it to say that everything Sekera has gone through in the past year and a half shows his incredible dedication to his sport and his teammates.
Sekera suffered a brutal knee injury in the 2017 playoffs, rehabbed his injury and managed to finish off the tail end of the 2017-18 season. Then, during offseason training last August he tore his Achilles tendon prior to the start of the 2018-19 campaign.
"I definitely had a thought about that," Sekera said to Spector earlier today. "Thirty one and I have the ACL. Now the Achilles? It could be a rough ending to my career. You know how long it takes. No matter what the doctor says, it’s always five to six months.”
"But (those thoughts), they went away after about 15 minutes, I knew exactly what lay ahead for me, and started getting ready for that."
Sekera has persevered through two catastrophic injuries that should have derailed his career and has suited up for the Oilers’ last 18 games.
"What he does with the puck rubs off on everybody else," said Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock. "When you bring patient players in, people who have composure, everybody else seems to have more composure. It’s like when you add defined skill to your group, it seems like you have more skill with other players.
"What Sekera does for us is he brings the composure level up. There is no panic under pressure."
It’s this composed and resilient nature that has enabled Sekera to get his career back on track.