Prior to the start of the 2017-18 season New Jersey Devils winger Brian Boyle was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of bone marrow cancer. He sought treatment and his season debut was delayed until November 1st. He would go on to score 10 goals in his first 25 games, highlighted by one on Hockey Fights Cancer Night on November 24th. Boyle would go on to appear in 69 games for the Devils, helping the club to an unexpected berth in the playoffs.
The other finalists for the award were Roberto Luongo of the Florida Panthers and Jordan Stall of the Carolina Hurricanes.