The NHL announced Nathan MacKinnon (Avalanche), Auston Matthews (Maple Leafs), and Ryan O'Reilly (Blues) as the three finalists for the 2019-20 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. The Lady Byng is awarded to the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
As usual, the Professional Hockey Writers Association votes on the award.
The Lady Byng Trophy cases for finalists MacKinnon, Matthews, O’Reilly
Quick case for Nathan MacKinnon
MacKinnon, 24, managed another great season (93 points, Ted Lindsay Award finalist) while posting a career-low 12 PIM in 2019-20. Considering his significant ice time (21:13 TOI average), it’s impressive that the speedy scorer kept his PIM totals so low. This is his first Lady Byng nomination.
Matthews becomes Lady Byng finalist after tumultuous offseason
No doubt, Auston Matthews finishing as Lady Byng finalist will create controversy. Honestly, it’s easy to understand such critiques.
While Matthews’ disorderly conduct was dismissed in November, plenty will wonder why he finished among the top three. Would Teuvo Teravainen (63 points, eight PIM) serve as a better choice, for example? Maybe Ryan Suter (12 PIM despite workhorse duties) instead?
From an on-ice perspective, Matthews makes a case as a Lady Byng finalist. Matthews produced 47 goals and shouldered a substantial ice time burden while only being whistled for eight PIM.
Ryan O’Reilly aims for another Lady Byng Trophy
As great as it’s been to see “ROR” get recognition as a Selke winner, O’Reilly has been a Lady Byng fixture for years. In fact, the dominant two-way forward won the Lady Byng in 2013-14. This marks O’Reilly’s third season in a row among Lady Byng finalists.
Remarkably, this marks the sixth of O’Reilly’s 11 seasons where he finished with 10 PIM or less. O’Reilly scored 61 points, excelled as a two-way player as usual, and kept his PIM to a neat 10 in 2019-20.
NHL AWARD FINALISTS
• Ted Lindsay Award: Leon Draisaitl, Nathan MacKinnon, Artemi Panarin
• Calder Trophy: Quinn Hughes, Cale Makar, Dominik Kubalik
• Jack Adams Award: Bruce Cassidy, John Tortorella, Alain Vigneault
• Masterton Trophy: Stephen Johns, Oskar Lindblom, Bobby Ryan
• Vezina Trophy: Connor Hellebuyck, Tuukka Rask, Andrei Vasilevskiy
• Selke Trophy: Patrice Bergeron, Sean Couturier, Ryan O’Reilly
• Norris Trophy: John Carlson, Victor Hedman, Roman Josi
• Hart Trophy: Leon Draisaitl, Nathan MacKinnon, Artemi Panarin