Voting is now open for the 2023 Bob Nystrom Award, created in 1991 to recognize a New York Islanders player that exemplifies leadership, hustle, and dedication. Last year, Zach Parise won the award, and given the description, he's considered a favorite again after playing all 82 games as a 38-year-old and scoring 21 goals in his 18th NHL season.
In addition to Parise, there are four other current Islanders that have won the award. That list includes JG Pageau (2021), Casey Cizikas (2018, 2019), Anders Lee (2017), and Matt Martin (2012, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20). Martin is the only player in franchise history to win the trophy inspired by "Mr. Islander" more than three times. Former center Claude LaPointe won it three times.
"What we want to do now is what he did for the people here," Cizikas said about Nystrom's legacy.
Nystrom played his entire career with the Islanders, winning four straight Stanley Cups, but has also represented the team on and off the ice that has spanned generations of fans and families. That's how he continues to lead by example for current players in the organization.
"He's the same great human being on a day-to-day basis, and to be around him like that after winning the award and seeing how he conducts himself, he rubs off on you, said 2002 winner Steve Webb. "I can see why he was so instrumental when he won all those cups."
For Isles alumni, winning the award is among the highlights of their time spent on Long Island. "One of the highlights of my career was winning the Bobby Nystrom Award because it was him [Nystrom] and what he stands for, said former defenseman and 2004 recipient Adrian Aucoin.
"Looking at players not necessarily for the points and goals and things like that, Nystrom said about his award. "But the one that is working out there, constantly gives 110% and really does everything he can for his teammates."
The Islanders are blessed to have several strong candidates for the award this season. That's a byproduct of design by GM Lou Lamoriello but also part of the fabric and expectations several Islanders alumni, led by Nystrom have created for the franchise.