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Trophy Tracker: Moulson favorite for Lady Byng

Tuesday, 02.28.2012 / 10:05 AM / Trophy Tracker

By David Kalan - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Trophy Tracker: Moulson favorite for Lady Byng
Matt Moulson could hit career-bests in goals, assists and points with single-digit penalty minutes in 82 games, making him the Lady Byng favorite.
The NHL reached the three-quarter mark of its season this past weekend. Now, with the NHL Trade Deadline in the rear-view mirror, NHL.com looks at some of the biggest storylines -- and award winners -- that have developed across the first 900-plus games of the 1,230-game regular season.

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

The NHL reached the three-quarter mark of its season this past weekend. Now, with the NHL Trade Deadline in the rear-view mirror, NHL.com looks at some of the biggest storylines -- and award winners -- that have developed across the first 900-plus games of the 1,230-game regular season.
However, after tabbing Stars left wing Loui Eriksson to ride last year's nomination for the Byng and another solid season to his first trophy in our previous predictions, we're shifting gears slightly. Eriksson remains in the mix, but with several glittering resumes to compare at this point in the season, Islanders left wing Matt Moulson's all-round offensive game and another impressive season have him in line to take the Lady Byng in 2012.

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:

WINNER

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.

FINALISTS

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
Matt Moulson
Left Wing - NYI
GOALS: 26 | ASST: 27 | PTS: 53
SOG: 171 | +/-: 8
can do is put in a strong performance of his own and he has done just that for the Stars, totaling 21 goals, 34 assists, plus-13 rating and just six penalty minutes. Those are strong enough numbers to earn Eriksson recognition for a second consecutive season; but they may not be enough to take home the hardware.

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.

Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres