Kulikov is one of 31 nominees around the league up for the award which is given out annually by the National Hockey League to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey, something Kulikov has shown a lot of over the past year.
The 28-year-old has been plagued by injuries since signing with the Jets as a free agent in 2017, including missing 20 regular season games and 15 playoff games last season due to a variety of upper-body issues that eventually required offseason surgery. Kulikov decided to hold off on surgery in hopes of helping the team during their playoff run last season, and ultimately made one appearance, suiting up in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals.
Kulikov’s offseason consisted of back surgery, followed by a lengthy rehab process which forced Kulikov to miss the beginning of the 2018-19 season before making his first appearance for the Jets Oct. 14 against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Masterton Trophy was first presented by the NHL Writers’ Association in 1968 to commemorate the late William Masterton, a player for the Minnesota North Stars, who was originally from Winnipeg and exhibited to a high degree the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
Masterton died on January 15, 1968 after sustaining an injury sustained during a hockey game.
The winner is selected in a poll of all chapters of the PHWA at the end of the regular season and will be unveiled at the NHL Awards ceremony in Las Vegas in June.
A complete list of all nominees are listed below:
Anaheim Ducks: Patrick Eaves, F
Arizona Coyotes: Michael Grabner, F
Boston Bruins: Zdeno Chara, D
Buffalo Sabres: Jason Pominville, F
Calgary Flames: Mark Giordano, D
Carolina Hurricanes: Curtis McElhinney, G
Chicago Blackhawks: Corey Crawford, G
Colorado Avalanche: Carl Soderberg, D
Columbus Blue Jackets:
Dallas Stars: Taylor Fedun, D
Detroit Red Wings: Niklas Kronwall, D
Edmonton Oilers: Andrej Sekera, D
Florida Panthers: Derek MacKenzie, F
Los Angeles Kings: Jack Campbell, G
Montreal Canadiens: Andrew Shaw, F
Nashville Predators: Rocco Grimaldi, F
New Jersey Devils: Cory Schneider, G
New York Islanders: Robin Lehner, G
New York Rangers: Brendan Smith, D
Ottawa Senators: Jean-Gabriel Pageau, F
Philadelphia Flyers: Brian Elliott, G
Pittsburgh Penguins: Matt Cullen, F
St. Louis Blues: Jay Bouwmeester, D
San Jose Sharks: Joe Thornton, F
Tampa Bay Lightning:
Toronto Maple Leafs: Tyler Ennis, F
Vancouver Canucks: Jacob Markstrom, G
Vegas Golden Knights: Ryan Carpenter, F
Washington Capitals: Brooks Orpik, D
Winnipeg Jets: Dmitry Kulikov, D