Wild winger Guillaume Latendresse has been nominated for the Bill Masterton Trophy by the Twin Cities chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
The hardware goes to one NHLer each season who best demonstrates “perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”
After floundering for three-plus seasons being a hometown kid in Montreal, Latendresse was traded to the Wild for Benoit Pouliot and became a revelation this season. In 55 games, he’s scored 25 goals and 37 points. Only two players in Wild history (Marian Gaborik and Brian Rolston) have scored more.
“Now I only have to think about hockey,” Latendresse said. “In Montreal, there’s so many distractions, especially when you’re from there. Let’s say you play a bad game, for two weeks you’re going to hear about that. You can’t turn the page easily on things.
“Playing in Minnesota is so fun. It’s crazy. It’s just like Montreal, except off the ice.”
Latendresse could have arrived full of attitude and self-pity. He could have come to Minnesota and been a role player, and no one would have thought twice. Instead, he became exactly the kind of player the Wild needs -- maybe the first power winger in team history.
“It was about opportunity,” he said. “The way people were seeing Pouli here, maybe I could have been a third- or fourth-liner and they would have said ‘good trade’ because Pouli was not seen with the talent he has here. But I don’t want to be a third- or fourth-liner.”