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Joe Thornton announced as Masterton Trophy Finalist

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Thornton scored 51 points this season as a 39-year-old.

Mar 14, 2019; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) warms up before the game against the Florida Panthers at SAP Center at San Jose.  Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL has announced that San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton has been voted as one of three finalists for the NHL’s Masterton Trophy.

The Masterton Trophy is awarded to the player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey,” as voted by the members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

From the release:

Thornton, 39, overcame major injuries from the prior two seasons, suffering a torn ACL and MCL in both his left knee (2017) and right knee (2018). His rehabilitation work, detailed in the San Jose Mercury News, served as an inspiration to his teammates and coaches. The leader among active NHL players in career assists and points (413-1,065—1,478 in 1,566 GP), Thornton concluded his 21st NHL campaign with 16-35—51 in 73 games, helping the Sharks qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 14th time in the past 15 seasons. Thornton scored his 400th career goal on Nov. 13 and passed a pair of NHL legends on April 4, leapfrogging Nicklas Lidstrom (1,564) into 12th place on the all-time games list and Steve Yzerman (1,063) into eighth place on the all-time assists list.

The two other finalists are Columbus Blue Jackets center Nick Foligno and New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner. Foligno dealt with health issues in his family during the season, while Lehner will share the William M. Jennings Trophy with teammate Thomas Greiss after revealing his battle with mental health issues in The Athletic prior to the season.

In his 21-year career, Thornton has won two prior NHL Awards: the Art Ross Trophy and the Hart Memorial Trophy, both in the 2006 season when he was traded from the Boston Bruins to the San Jose Sharks.

He is the second Sharks player to be nominated for an award this season, joining Brenden Dillon, who was announced as one of the 31 nominees for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy earlier this week.

Winners will be announced during the NHL Awards show on Wednesday, June 19.