Photo credit: Trophies.com

The NHL Professional Hockey Writers’ Association have selected the three finalists for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, June 24 during the 2014 NHL Awards from Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. This award is presented annually “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

The three finalists are Martin St. Louis of the New York Rangers; Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks; and Ryan O’Reilly of the Colorado Avalanche.

Martin St. Louis is a Lady Byng finalist for the eighth time in the past 10 years and if he is selected as the winner, he would not only repeat, but it would also be the fourth time in the past five years that he’s won it. St. Louis recorded the seventh 30-goal season of his NHL career (30-39–69); led the Rangers in goals, points and power-play goals (nine); and ranked second in plus-minus (+13). He also ranked third among NHL forwards in total time on ice (1,696:11), but was assessed just 10 penalty minutes — fewest among the League’s top 20 scorers.

Due to St. Louis’s behavior following the Olympics (demanding a trade because he wasn’t placed on the initial Team Canada roster) makes him an intriguing finalist but there is no denying what a talented player he is and taking so few penalties while scoring that many goals is impressive.

Patrick Marleau tallied his seventh 30-goal season in the past nine years and ranked second on the Sharks in goals (33); was third in assists (37) and points (70); and led the club and placed fifth in the NHL in
shots on goal (285). Marleau played in all 82 games, averaged 20:31 of ice time per game but received just 18 penalty minutes. The 34-year-old Aneroid, Sask., native is a Lady Byng finalist for the second time, finishing third behind Pavel Datsyuk and Brad Richards in 2006.

Ryan O’Reilly had a career year, racking up 64 points while leading the Avalanche  in goals (28), power-play goals (9) and game-winners (6-tied), and led the NHL in takeaways (83) for the second time in the past three seasons. O’Reilly had a near season discipline-wise, being called for only one minor penalty (playing with a broken stick) in 80 games played. He joins Butch Goring (1977-78, Los Angeles) as the only players ever to receive two or fewer PIM over 80 or more games. The 23-year-old Clinton, Ont., native is a Lady Byng Trophy finalist for the first time and is the heavy favorite given his excellent discipline at not taking any kind of penalty until he was whistled for playing with a broken stick (though he didn’t realize it at the time). Interestingly enough, he never even received an erroneous penalty due to mistaken identity.

Lady Byng, wife of Canada’s Governor-General at the time, presented the Lady Byng Trophy during the 1924-25 season. After Frank Boucher of the New York Rangers won the award seven times in eight seasons, he was given the trophy to keep and Lady Byng donated another trophy in 1936. After Lady Byng’s death in 1949, the National Hockey League presented a new trophy, changing the name to the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.

The NHL will announce the rest of the trophy finalists from April 23 through May 6. The full schedule is below:

Wednesday, April 23
Calder Trophy (top rookie)

Thursday, April 24
Selke Trophy (forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game)

Friday, April 25
Vezina Trophy (top goaltender)

Monday, April 28
Norris Trophy (top defenseman)

Tuesday, April 29
Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone

Wednesday, April 30
Masterton Trophy (perseverance and dedication to hockey)

Thursday, May 1
Hart Trophy (most valuable player to his team)

Friday, May 2
NHL Foundation Player Award (community service)

Monday, May 5
Ted Lindsay Award (most outstanding player as voted by the players)

Tuesday, May 6
Jack Adams Award (top head coach)

With the exception of the Jack Adams, Ted Lindsay, Vezina and the Mark Messier award, all finalists were selected by the NHL Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

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