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Masterton Trophy: Thomas Greiss gets Islanders nomination

The career backup has come a long way to secure the number one job in goal

New York Islanders v New York Rangers
Sporting and dedicated, the Greiss is always right.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Goaltender Thomas Greiss is the New York Islanders nominee for the Masterton Trophy, which annually goes to an NHL player judged to demonstrate “perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”

Greiss has to be the rare number one goalie who receives such a nomination, but his route to securing the Isles’ top job in the crease is a big reason why.

The Masterton nominations for each team come via their respective local chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, so PHWA member Arthur Staple provided the context for Greiss in this Newsday roundup:

“Greiss’ rise from journeyman backup to Islanders’ No. 1 is fairly unprecedented for someone like the 31-year-old Greiss, who rose up through the ranks in his native Germany before joining the Sharks as a backup for four seasons.”

That story also has quotes from interim head coach Doug Weight about why the Isles like Greiss -- his by now familiar traits of calm, steady demeanor among the storm -- and indeed looked at him on consecutive summers before getting his name on a contract.

In addition to his key role for the Islanders this season and in last year’s playoffs, something somewhat overlooked around the league is that Greiss has been one of the best goalies in the league since landing the starting job.

That was enough for the Islanders to commit to Greiss for three more years with a contract extension announced at the end of January.

Two Islanders have won the Masterton in the trophy’s history: Goalie Mark Fitzpatrick in 1991-92, after overcoming a life-threatening syndrome, and Ed Westfall in 1976-77, who led the franchise as captain from its expansion to the eve of the Stanley Cup dynasty.