By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter! @andrewlindrothh
For the second season in a row, Kevan Miller has been nominated for the 2021 Bill Masterton Trophy, as selected by the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association (PHWA). Every year, each team has a player nominated for the Bill Masterton Trophy, which is awarded “to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.”
As many Bruins fans already know, Miller has been struggling the past few years while recovering from serious knee injuries dating back to the 2018-2019 season. During that season, Miller only dressed for 39 contests and then later sat out for the entire 2019-2020 campaign recovering from his injury. After 651 days since his last game, Miller finally made his long-awaited appearance on January 14th, 2021.
As the regular season comes to a close, Miller is currently averaging 19:12 TOI in 27 appearances this season, which ranks his second-highest workload on the blue-line since the 2017-2018 season (19:28 average TOI). Although the 6’2, 210-pound defender has missed a considerable amount of games this season, he has produced one goal and four points so far while providing consistency on the blue-line.
There has been a lot of doubt surrounding the possibility of Miller returning to the ice (especially as a Bruin), and he has been able to defy all odds by continuing to overcome a challenging injury that would put most players out of a career. For someone to miss more than an entire season due to severe knee injuries, and come back to contribute for a top-tier team like the Bruins, is a phenomenal accomplishment in itself.
Three finalists and the winner will be announced at a later date. The past Bruins who have been nominated are Zdeno Chara (2019 & 2017, David Backes (2018), and Jonas Gustavasson (2016). The last Bruins player to win the Bill Masterton Trophy was Phil Kessel in 2007, who returned to the ice after missing considerable time due to his battle with testicular cancer.