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Jack Campbell named Kings’ nominee for Bill Masterton Trophy

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Despite the Kings’ failure to win games, Campbell’s stats are delightful.

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association announced that goaltender Jack Campbell is their nominee for this year’s Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

Campbell, in his first full year in the NHL, ranks among the league’s top goalies in save percentage (.925, tied for sixth in the league) and goals against average (2.32, tied for fourth in the league). This, despite the Kings’ ability to score goals or win games — he has just eight wins in 22 starts, but gives the team a chance to win when he’s called upon. Campbell has two shut-outs this season: a 40-save effort in Montreal in October, and the more recent 42-save win in Calgary this week.

He took the long route to the NHL after being drafted in the first round by the Dallas Stars in 2010. After a strong career with the U.S. National Team Development program, including two U18 World Junior Championship gold medals, one U20 World Junior Championship gold, one U20 World Junior Championship bronze, and many accolades as best goaltender and most valuable player, Campbell entered the Stars’ system, where his game slowly started to fall apart.

While he did win the Calder Cup with the AHL’s Texas Stars in 2013-14, he ended up being demoted to the ECHL for parts of the next two seasons before the Stars traded him to the Kings in exchange for Nick Ebert.

Kings goaltending development coach Dusty Imoo had his work cut out for him with Campbell, but Imoo is more than experienced at helping get goaltenders back on track. Imoo’s work with Campbell helped get his game back together, both mentally and technically, and has turned Campbell into one of the few true bright spots of this year’s Kings season.

The Masterton is awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey and is selected by a vote of PHWA chapters. Each team selects a nominee; the picks are then narrowed to three and the ultimate winner will be revealed at the NHL Awards in June.

The award was first presented in 1968 in honor of the late Bill Masterton, a player for the Minnesota North Stars, who died on January 15, 1968, after hitting his head on the ice after a collision during a game.

Three Kings players have won the Masterton in the past: Butch Goring (1977-78), Bob Bourne (1987-88), and Dave Taylor (1990-91).