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Flyers’ D-man: From Out of Hockey to Masterton Nominee

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Nick Seeler, Philadelphia Flyers
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Nick Seeler dives to break up a Carolina scoring chance. Photo: AP.

A little over two years ago, Nick Seeler, a journeyman defenseman who had played 105 NHL games over four seasons, needed a break from hockey.

Seeler, then with the Chicago Blackhawks, left the sport for about a year. He said he needed a physical and mental “reset.”

The Minnesota native came back rejuvenated, and he has turned into one of the Philadelphia Flyers’ most valuable defensemen this season.

In appreciation for his perseverance, the Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has named Seeler the Flyers’ Masterton Trophy nominee.

“I’m truly honored and humbled to be nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy,” Seeler said. “Thank you to those who voted for me and to the entire Flyers organization for making these past two years feel like home. And of course, thank you to my family and close friends for always supporting me throughout my hockey journey. Go Flyers!”

The award is given to the player who best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.

Seeler, 29, is one of 32 nominees (one from each team) for the Masterton.

Montreal goaltender Carey Price was last year’s winner.

Seeler has been a mainstay on the Flyers’ third pairing. He has set career highs in games (77), goals (four), and points (14)

He leads the team with 157 blocked shots, and is14th in the NHL in that category, despite averaging significantly less ice time (14:27) than the players in front of him.

In addition, he is second among Flyers defensemen in hits, and sticks up for teams with his scrappy play.

Seeler’s plus-1 ranking — on a team that has a minus-57 goal differential — is No. 1 among Philadelphia Flyers defensemen.

In franchise history, four Flyers have won the Masterton: Oskar Lindblom in 2021, Ian Laperriere in 2011, Tim Kerr in in 1989, and Bobby Clarke in 1972.

Kevin Hayes was a finalist last year. That gave the Flyers a finalist for three straight seasons. Lindblom was a finalist in the previous two years.

Breakaways

Seeler missed the Flyers’ 5-3 loss Sunday to Boston because he was ill. … Former Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher rescued Seeler’s career by signing him. … The Flyers play their final home game of the season Tuesday, meeting South Jersey’s Johnny Gaudreau (71 points in 77 games) and the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets and Chicago are tied for the NHL’s worst record with 56 points. Chicago has the tie-breaker. The Flyers will have a big say in who finishes last overall and has the best draft-lottery odds; they play their final two games against Columbus and the Blackhawks.

Flyers’ Best D-man this Season? My Answer May Surprise You

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