As members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, we are asked to vote on the NHL’s Most Valuable Player, top defenseman, top rookie, top defensive forward, most gentlemanly player and its All-Star teams at each position.
Here are my picks for the Lady Byng Trophy, which goes to the NHL player “adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability:”
1. Ryan O’Reilly, Colorado Avalanche – How can a player play in 80 games, record 28 goals and 64 points and commit just one penalty? That’s what O’Reilly did for the Avs this season, which makes him the leading candidate for Dale Hunter’s least favorite award. [Wasn’t it Hunter who once said, “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’?”]
2. Marcus Johansson, Washington Capitals – The Caps’ mild-mannered left wing has committed just four minor penalties in his last two seasons in the NHL and just 13 minors in his first four NHL seasons. He also managed eight goals and 44 points this season.
3. Marty St. Louis, New York Rangers – St. Louis took some heat for requesting a trade out of Tampa and he struggled once he arrived in New York, but the three-time Lady Byng winner still finished with 30 goals, 69 points, a plus-13 and just 10 penalty minutes.
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4. Daniel Paille, Boston Bruins – He put up just nine goals and nine assists in 72 games for the Bruins this season but Paille spent just six minutes in the sin bin. Last season he took just four minor penalties.
5. Jordan Eberle, Edmonton Oilers – In 80 games for the Oilers, Eberle scored 28 goals and managed 65 points while amassing just nine minor penalties.
Who's your pick for the Lady Byng?