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Rangers' Marc Staal nominated for Masterton Trophy

Marc Staal of the New York Rangers celebrates

Marc Staal of the New York Rangers celebrates his first-period goal against the Nashville Predators at Madison Square Garden on Monday, March 2, 2015. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Rangers defenseman Marc Staal has been nominated for this season's Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy by the New York chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

After a serious eye injury and concussions that limited him to a total of 67 games in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, Staal has five goals and 13 assists in 75 games this season. Staal, 28, is on pace to play his most regular season games since 2010-11 (77). Staal continues to be rock-solid defensively, with a plus-17.

The annual award is given to a player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey. The Rangers' Martin St. Louis was runner-up in the New York chapter voting.

Last season, Rangers center Dominic Moore became the fifth Blueshirt to win the trophy, which has been presented since the 1967-68 season. Moore returned to the game after caring for his wife Katie, who died from a rare form of cancer.

The chapter also named center Derek Stepan as this year's winner of the Good Guy Award, for cooperation with the media. Among the other top vote-getters were Derick Brassard and Rick Nash. Previous winners, who cannot be selected again, include Staal, Dan Girardi and Henrik Lundqvist.

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