The NHL announced the three finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy on Thursday, awarded to the player who exhibits the most “sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
For the second season in a row, and third time in four years, Barkov is a finalist for this award though he’s never won it. This season the 23-year-old scored a career-high 96 points, which set a new Florida Panthers single-season franchise record, passing Pavel Bure’s 94 points in 1999-2000. Barkov was heavily leaned upon by the Panthers, logging 1,833:01 of ice time on the season, which was second among all NHL forwards. Amazingly, he only took four minor penalties all season, finishing with just eight penalty minutes on the season. A terrific defensive player as well, Barkov’s 100 takeaways were the second-most in the league, while he won 53.7 per cent of his faceoffs. If Barkov wins the Lady Byng, he’ll be the second Panther to do it, following Brian Campbell in 2011-12.
Monahan posted a terrific offensive season himself, posting career bests of 34 goals and 82 points in 78 games. With Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm, Monahan centred Calgary’s top line, which combined for 97 of Calgary’s 289 goals and lead the team to its best offensive season since 1993-94 and first regular season conference title since 1989-90. For the fourth time in six seasons, Monahan finished with less than 20 penalty minutes, wrapping up with just six minor penalties. This is the first time Monahan has been a finalist for an NHL Award and, should he win, he’d be the third Flame to take home the Lady Byng, joining Jiri Hudler (2014-15) and Gaudreau (2016-17).
One day after O’Reilly was named a finalist for the Selke Trophy, he cracks the top three for the Lady Byng after previously winning it in 2013-14. O’Reilly set new personal bests in assists (49) and points (77), while tying his career high in goals (28). For the second time in his career O’Reilly played all 82 games and he received only six minor penalties. In each of O’Reilly’s 10 NHL seasons, he’s finished with less than 20 penalty minutes. O’Reilly is seeking to become the first St. Louis Blue to win this award since Pavol Demitra in 1999-2000.
The Lady Byng Trophy is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. All award winners will be announced on June 19 at the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas.