Monday, April 24, 2017
2017 Lady Byng trophy preview
The Lady Byng trophy in the NHL is one of a kind. No other sports league awards a trophy similar to the Lady Byng. The Lady Byng is awarded to the player "adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly, combined with a high standard of playing ability." Basically, the formula to win the Lady Byng is to have a high number of points, and a low number of penalty minutes. The 2017 Lady Byng finalists are Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues, Mikael Granlund of the Minnesota Wild and Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames.
For the first time in his career, Tarasenko played in all 82 games. He scored a career high 75 points (39 goals and 36 assists). He sat in the penalty box for just 12 minutes. The Russian probably grew up watching Russian Pavel Datsyuk, who won the trophy 4 consecutive times from 2005-06 to 2008-09. Maybe Tarasenko can become the third Russian to win the Lady Byng (After Datsyuk and Alexander Mogilny).
Granlund enjoyed his breakout season in 2016-17. He scored a career high 69 points (26 goals and 43 assists, each career highs) in 81 games. Like Tarasenko, he sat in the box for 12 minutes. His efforts helped the Wild get to the playoffs.
Gaudreau played the least amount of games, 72, and scored the least amount of points, 61 (18 goals and 43 assists), but he had the least amount of penalty minutes with 4. That helped the Flames make the playoffs.
I think Tarasenko will win. He has the most points, so he already is halfway there to being the obviously choice. Gaudreau has less penalty minutes, but in less games. And it's not like 12 penalty minutes is so much. So, that's why he'll win.