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Lady Byng Trophy Finalists: Eriksson vs. Kopitar vs. Barkov

The NHL announced Saturday that Los Angeles Kings forward Anze Kopitar, Boston Bruins forward Loui Eriksson and Florida Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov were finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy, given 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 Professional Hockey Writers’ Association voted for the award.

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So which one of these guys will win the Byng?

Why Aleksander Barkov deserves The Lady Byng

From the NHL: 

Barkov established career highs in goals (28), assists (31) and points (59) – nearly doubling his production from his first two NHL seasons combined (24-36—60 in 125 GP) – to help the Panthers set franchise records for wins (47) and points (103) while capturing their second division title. He also established a career high and shared fourth place in the NHL with eight game-winning goals, the most by any Florida player since 2006-07. Barkov’s eight penalty minutes – in 66 games – were a career low and tied for the fewest among the League’s top 50 scorers. He is an NHL Trophy finalist for the first time and the Panthers’ first finalist for the Lady Byng since 2011-12, when Brian Campbell won the award.

Barkov has often combined his high skill level with gentlemanly play. He’s never accrued more than 16 penalty minutes in a single season. This year, Barkov took his game to another level with 59 points in 66 games to give himself more Byng cred. 

Why Loui Eriksson Deserves The Lady Byng

From the NHL:

Eriksson registered 30-33—63, his most points since 2011-12 (26-45—71), while playing in all 82 games for the fourth time in his career. He reached the 30-goal milestone for the second time (also 2008-09: 36), including his third career hat trick and first since the 2009-10 campaign. Eriksson received just six minor penalties and 12 total penalty minutes over the course of the season – only three players who appeared in at least 82 games posted fewer totals in either category. He is a Lady Byng finalist for the second time after finishing third in voting in 2010-11 (w/ DAL). Eriksson is looking to become the first Boston player to win the Lady Byng since 1981-82 (Rick Middleton).

When Eriksson was a member of the Dallas Stars, he received some Byng votes, finishing third in the race for the 2011 Byng and fourth in 2012 Byng voting. This year with the Boston Bruins Eriksson rediscovered his scoring touch with 63 points in 82 games. His 30 goals were the second-most of his career. His 12 penalty minutes were his lowest full-season total since 2011-12. 

“It is a great honor to be considered for the Lady Byng Trophy, an award that has been won by some of the best players of all time,” said Eriksson in a statement from the Bruins. “There are many deserving candidates so to be named one of the finalists with Anze Kopitar and Aleksander Barkov is very exciting for me. Thank you to my teammates and the coaching staff and I appreciate all those who voted." 

Why Anze Kopitar Deserves The Lady Byng

The NHL says:

Kopitar (25-49—74 in 81 GP) led the Kings in scoring for the ninth consecutive season, the longest active such streak in the NHL, to help the team set a franchise record for wins (48). He also ranked second in the League with a +34 rating, matching a career high established in 2013-14. Kopitar totaled only 16 penalty minutes despite pacing NHL forwards in total time on ice (1,690:12) – an average of 20:52 per game. He is a Lady Byng finalist for the second straight campaign after finishing third in voting in 2014-15. Kopitar, who also was announced as a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, is attempting to become the first Los Angeles player to win the Lady Byng since 1993-94 (Wayne Gretzky).

Kopitar was recognized for his gentlemanly play in the past, finishing in the top-10 in voting five times. Kopitar was a finalist last season.

Though Kopitar plays a rugged, physical cycling game, he’s never gotten himself in trouble and always plays clean and within the whistles. In his career, Kopitar’s had just one fighting major – in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs against Alex Burrows.

Who Wins The Lady Byng?

Eriksson has been one of the cleaner players in the NHL for a long time. Playing in Boston likely gave him more exposure with the voting populous.

Who Should Win The Lady Byng?

There’s no wrong decision with all three of these players. They all played smart hockey with a high level of sportsmanship and didn’t put their teams down shorthanded at crucial points in games.




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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!


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