NEW YORK -- Forwards Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings, Jiri Hudler of the Calgary Flames and Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings are the three finalists for the 2014-15 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 at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 24, during the 2015 NHL Awards from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Following are the finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy, in alphabetical order:
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
Datsyuk produced at better than a point-per-game pace, totaling 26-39--65 in 63 outings to rank second on the Red Wings in scoring despite missing 19 games due to injury. His 26 goals were his most since 2009-10 (27) and six shy of his career high set in 2008-09 (32). He received just eight minutes in penalties over his 63 appearances, the lowest per-game ratio since his rookie season of 2001-02. Among the most decorated players in the 90-year history of Lady Byng Trophy voting, Datsyuk captured the award for four consecutive years (2006 through 2009) and also was a finalist in 2010, when he finished third.
Jiri Hudler, Calgary Flames
Hudler finished eighth in the NHL scoring race and established career highs in goals (31), assists (45) and points (76), helping the Flames qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2009. Hudler tallied 23 points in March, when the team jumped from the outside of the playoff picture into third place in the Pacific Division. It marked the most points by any player in a calendar month this season and the most by a Flames player since December 2006 (Jarome Iginla: 10-16--26). A first-time NHL Trophy finalist, Hudler was assessed just 14 penalty minutes all season, fewest among the League's top 20 scorers.
Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings
Kopitar led the Kings in scoring for the eighth consecutive regular season, the NHL's second-longest active streak behind Washington's Alex Ovechkin (10). He topped the club with 48 assists, his most since a career-high 51 in 2011-12, and 64 points, surpassing the 60-point milestone for the eighth time in as many 82-game seasons. The 27-year-old center was whistled for just five minor penalties in 79 games. Kopitar is a first-time Lady Byng finalist and an NHL Trophy nominee for the second consecutive campaign. He finished second in voting for the Selke Trophy as the League's top defensive forward in 2013-14.
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 three finalists for NHL trophies are being announced by NBCSN in the United States and Sportsnet/TVA in Canada on Stanley Cup Playoff broadcasts through May 5, during pregame programming from 6:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., ET. The series of announcements continues on Wednesday, April 22, when the three finalists for the Frank Selke Trophy will be unveiled.
IMG will produce the 2015 NHL Awards™, under the direction of executive producer Steve Mayer.
A full line up of presenters and entertainment, information on broadcasting and tickets, as well as hospitality and travel packages through PrimeSport will be announced at a future date. In what has become an annual tradition, EA SPORTS will be unveiling the Cover Athlete for the upcoming launch of NHL 16. In addition, fans can enter for a chance to win a trip to the 2015 NHL Awards™ at www.NHL.com/Vegas and tweet about the event using the official hashtag #NHLAwards.