Connor, Spurgeon, Slavin named Lady Byng finalists


The NHL continues its daily revealing of award finalists and today’s is the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. The award is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and is given “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

This year’s finalists are Kyle Connor of the Winnipeg Jets, Jared Spurgeon of the Minnesota Wild and Jaccob Slavin of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Connor, a finalist for the first time, put together an incredible season even as the Jets struggled to take off. The 25-year-old sniper potted 47 goals and 93 points in 79 games, and, perhaps most impressively, recorded just four minutes in penalties. Two minutes in November for slashing, and two minutes in March for hooking were the only times Connor was forced to spend in the sin bin, an eye-popping feat given he played nearly 22 minutes a night for Winnipeg.

If the Winnipeg forward wants to win, though, he’ll have to go through a pair of defensemen that are certainly not new to the award.

Spurgeon, last year’s runner-up, put together another season that seems to boggle the mind, recording just 10 penalty minutes despite playing more than 21 minutes a night on defense. In 772 NHL games, Spurgeon has amassed just 130 penalty minutes and has been nominated for the Byng on eight different occasions. Add in his 10-goal, 40-point campaign, and you certainly have a player who combined gentlemanly conduct and a high standard of play during the regular season. Remember, those who want to point out his playoff cross-check that this voting is done before the postseason commences.

Slavin, last year’s winner after taking just two minutes in penalties all season, decided to goon-it-up this year with a total of 10 in 79 games. The Hurricanes defenseman is the perfect blend of mobility, positioning and stick-checking ability, ending countless plays without ever losing ground. He reached a new high in points with 42, while once again logging more than 23 minutes a night for Carolina. Nominated for the Lady Byng in each of the last five seasons, he could become the first player to win the award in consecutive years since Martin St. Louis.


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