The Professional Hockey Writers chapter of the New York Rangers has nominated defenseman Brendan Smith for the Masterton Trophy.
The trophy is awarded to the player who displays “perseverance and dedication to the sport.”
— Denis Gorman (@DenisGorman) March 28, 2019
Smith, 30, had a rocky start to his Rangers career. He was traded to the Rangers by Detroit for New York’s third-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft and a second-round pick (previously acquired from Ottawa) in the 2018 NHL Draft.
The defenseman was re-signed before hitting free agency that June with the hope of being a top-four defenseman with the club. Unfortunately, things went south on him fast and he found himself demoted to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL.
He hit rock bottom when he broke his hand in a fight at practice missing the final month of the season in the AHL.
This year, under new coach David Quinn, Smith has revitalized his career.
The defenseman had found consistent time in the lineup as Quinn and the coaching staff worked with him to improve his game.
The past six weeks, as the team fell from playoff contention and were eventually eliminated, Smith has played more on the fourth line as a winger. His size and game management has turned a desperate situation into productive time on the ice.
The nomination has finalized his validated his turnaround and it’s clear he’s a bonafide NHL player.