Nathan MacKinnon wins the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy

nathan mackinnon

Colorado Avalanche centre Nathan MacKinnon wins the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. The trophy is awarded to the player who best exemplifies sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high level of play.

Nathan MacKinnon wins Lady Byng

This is MacKinnon’s second major NHL award of his career. He won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year in 2014. He is also nominated for the Hart Trophy as the most important player to his team and the Ted Lindsay Award as the most outstanding player. Those awards will be announced during the Stanley Cup Final.

The other finalists were Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews and St. Louis Blues centre Ryan O’Reilly.

MacKinnon joins Joe Sakic and coincidentally Ryan O’Reilly as the only Avalanche players to win the award.

MacKinnon finished fifth in the NHL in scoring with 35 goals, 58 assists for 93 points in 69 games. He also had 12 penalty minutes which is the lowest of his seven-year NHL career. His 12 penalty minutes were the second lowest among the NHL’s top 20 scorers. The only player who finished lower was Matthews with eight.

Three time Lady Byng winner and Hockey Hall of Famer Martin St. Louis presented the award virtually to MacKinnon.

“I think it’s important to treat your opponents with respect,” MacKinnon said after receiving the award. “I think it’s important that your coaches can trust you in key situations and you won’t take a minor (penalty) and put your team on the penalty kill,” he later said.

What this Means for the Future

History shows that players who win this award are consistent every year at not taking many penalties. Players like Paul Kariya, Pavel Datsyuk and St. Louis have won the award multiple times. One time winners like O’Reilly, Aleksander Barkov and William Karlsson have kept their penalty minutes under 20 for most of their careers. If MacKinnon can become that consistent with his discipline it will make him even more valuable than he already is. He has led the Avalanche in points during the past four seasons, and if he can continually stay out of the penalty box, it is only going to add to his ability to help his Colorado win.

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