On June 19th, the NHL awarded Jaccob Slavin as the winner of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. The Lady Byng recipient received the honors from votes cast by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. To win the Lady Byng, one must be judged best at exhibiting both sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct, along with a high level of playing ability. For the 2020-21 season, the finalists for the award were Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Jaccob Slavin of the Carolina Hurricanes, and Jared Spurgeon of the Minnesota Wild. All three nominees qualified by the standards mentioned, but ultimately Slavin came out on top.
Jaccob Slavin Named Winner of Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
By earning the Lady Byng award, Slavin earned his first ever NHL Award. It couldn’t be more deserving, either. The Hurricanes defensemen led his team in ice time (22:59 per game), and played in all situations as their go-to guy on the backend. The Hurricanes relied heavily on Slavin whether shorthanded, on the powerplay, or simply at even strength. He received votes for the award in each of the last four seasons too, coming closest last season when he finished fourth. But this year, he only took a single minor penalty in 52 games and nearly 1,200 minutes of hockey. That feat, as a defenseman matching up against the league’s best players, simply couldn’t be ignored.
No defenseman has been named the Lady Byng winner since Brian Campbell did it with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011-12. Now, Slavin broke that streak, and truly earned it with his disciplined play all year long.
Lady Byng Winner Among Group of Esteemed Finalists
Only one could be declared winner, but the Lady Byng finalists all remain well-deserving of its honors. Matthews led Toronto to a first-place finish in the Scotia North Division with his NHL-leading 41 goals, and received his second consecutive nomination for the award Slavin logged more minutes with the Hurricanes than any other player, and took only one penalty all year long. And Spurgeon took only three penalties all season while simultaneously leading Wild defensemen in scoring. All three guys log major minutes against opponent’s top players because of their elite playing ability. Yet despite the tough matchups, all of them took just a handful of minor penalties. Staying out of the box helps your team tremendously when it comes from the players playing in all the most important situations. These three do that regularly, and each should be commended for it.
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