Courtesy of NHL Communications
NEW YORK (July 16, 2020) – Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly are the three finalists for the 2019-20 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability,” the National Hockey League announced today.
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Lady Byng Trophy after the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be revealed during the Conference Finals, with the exact date, format and time to be determined.
Following are the finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy, in alphabetical order:
Nathan MacKinnon, C, Colorado Avalanche
MacKinnon ranked fifth in the NHL with 35-58—93 in 69 games, 43 points more than his next-closest teammate, to lead the Avalanche into the playoffs for the third consecutive season. He also placed among the top 10 in the League in power-play points (4th; 31), assists (6th; 58), power-play goals (t-6th; 12), goals (9th; 35) and power-play assists (t-10th; 19), while topping the NHL in shots on goal (318). MacKinnon did so while registering a career-low 12 penalty minutes, the second-fewest among the League’s top 25 scorers; no other NHL forward averaged more time on ice (21:13) in 2019-20 while taking fewer penalties. The 24-year-old Halifax, N.S., native – who earlier this week was named a 2019-20 Ted Lindsay Award finalist – is a Lady Byng Trophy finalist for the first time. He is seeking to become the third player in Avalanche/Nordiques history to win the award, following O’Reilly in 2013-14 and Joe Sakic in 2000-01.
Auston Matthews, C, Toronto Maple Leafs
Matthews finished third in the NHL with a career-high 47 goals, one behind Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy co-winners Alex Ovechkin and David Pastrnak, while also topping the Maple Leafs with a career-best 80 points in 70 games (47-33—80). Matthews – who added personal highs and ranked among the top 10 in the League in shots on goal (4th; 290) and power-play goals (t-6th; 12) – also established a career-low with eight penalty minutes, tied for the fewest among the NHL’s top 100 scorers. He did so while sharing second place in the League in takeaways (78) and ranking eighth among NHL forwards in total time on ice (1,467:52), also both personal bests. The 22-year-old Scottsdale, Ariz., native – who captured the Calder Memorial Trophy in 2016-17 – is vying to become the eighth different player to win the Lady Byng Trophy with the Maple Leafs and just the second to do so in the expansion era (since 1967-68), following Alexander Mogilny in 2002-03.
Ryan O’Reilly, C, St. Louis Blues
O’Reilly led the reigning Stanley Cup champion Blues with 12-49—61 in 71 games to power the team to the highest points percentage in the Western Conference (.662; 42-19-10). He topped the NHL in both face-off wins (880) and face-offs taken (1,556), ranking 10th among qualifying players with a 56.6 face-off winning percentage. O’Reilly received five minor penalties (10 PIM), the sixth time in his 11 NHL seasons he has totaled 10 or fewer penalty minutes, while ranking seventh in the League in takeaways (69) and 10th among NHL forwards in total time on ice (1,460:45). The 29-year-old Clinton, Ont., native – who previously won the Lady Byng Trophy in 2013-14 (w/ COL) – is a finalist for the award for the third straight season, following second-place finishes in both 2018-19 (w/ STL) and 2017-18 (w/ BUF). He is looking to become the fourth player to capture the trophy with the Blues, joining Phil Goyette (1969-70), Brett Hull (1989-90) and Pavol Demitra (1999-2000).
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 NHL presented a new trophy, changing the name to the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.
The three finalists for 2020 NHL Awards are being announced through Tuesday, July 21. The series of announcements continues Friday, July 17, when the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy and Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award will be unveiled.