At the quarter-mark of the 2011-12 NHL season, we noted that Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis, winner of the last two Lady Byng trophies, still was a candidate to complete the hat trick this June with a third. The Byng, which rewards the player who best displays "skillful and gentlemanly play," has a tendency to see repeat winners -- prior to St. Louis, Pavel Datsyuk took home the award four straight times and Rangers center Frank Boucher once won the award seven times in a span of eight seasons -- which means predicting St. Louis to do it again would be far from unreasonable.
In fact, St. Louis' numbers to this point -- 22 goals, 36 assists, a plus-2 rating and 16 penalty minutes in 57 games -- would merit his inclusion as a Lady Byng finalist. But much like both of our earlier predictions, we still don't think St. Louis will be taking home the hardware.
2011-12 NHL TROPHY TRACKER
- HART TROPHY: Malkin establishing healthy lead
- VEZINA TROPHY: 'King' Henrik should get crown
- NORRIS TROPHY: Could Lidstrom win No. 8?
- JACK ADAMS AWARD: History on Tortorella's side
- SELKE TROPHY: Bergeron remains top candidate
- CALDER TROPHY: Henrique ascends to the top
- GM OF THE YEAR: Coyotes' Maloney leading the list
Eriksson and New Jersey center Adam Henrique (41 points, plus-10, seven penalty minutes) are making strong cases for consideration, but there are some new players that may have slipped under the radar, too. Jason Pominville is continuing to shine in Buffalo despite a surprisingly tough season for the franchise, totaling 23 goals and 36 assists while picking up just 10 penalty minutes, and Florida defenseman Brian Campbell's 38 assists and just six penalty minutes remain impressive for anyone, let alone a top-pair defenseman.
Here are our picks for the top contenders for the Lady Byng Trophy at the three-quarter point:
Matt Moulson, New York Islanders -- Were it not for Steven Stamkos, there may not be a player outside of the Stanley Cup Playoff field having a more impressive season than Moulson. Despite the Isles' tough sledding, Moulson has excelled. His 26 goals this season have him on pace for a career-best 34, which would be his third-straight 30-goal season. He also has 25 assists, already a career single-season high, and he should shatter the career-best 53 points he's posted the past two seasons. Add in that Moulson has taken just three minor penalties all season and is a plus-5 for a team with a minus-36 goal differential and Moulson's impressive season is an obvious force behind the Islanders' late playoff push. He'll be rewarded for it this June in Las Vegas.
Loui Eriksson, Dallas Stars -- Eriksson was deserving of his first-ever Lady Byng nomination a season ago and he'll be deserving again this spring. After all, he can't help Moulson's impressive run. All Eriksson
SOG: 171 | +/-: 8
Jordan Eberle, Edmonton Oilers -- After a promising start to the season, Edmonton has fallen to No. 14 in the Western Conference to start the week, but the future is bright for the Oilers thanks to Eberle. In 57 games this season, Eberle has put up an impressive 27 goals and 33 assists without becoming a defensive liability for a team that is near the bottom of the League in goals-against. The right wing is a plus-4 this season and his trips to the penalty box are few and far between -- only eight penalty minutes on the season.