Lady Byng winner to be announced before Game 3 of East Final
MacKinnon, Matthews, O'Reilly in running for award given for gentlemanly conductby David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer
Winners of the 2020 NHL Awards presented by Las Vegas will be announced throughout the 2020 conference finals and 2020 Stanley Cup Final.
The winner of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL player who best combines sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct and ability, will be announced Friday by NBCSN, Sportsnet and TVA Sports during the pregame show for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders. The game starts at 8 p.m.
Here is a look at the three finalists, who were named July 16. Voting was completed before the start of the postseason.
Nathan MacKinnon, Auston Matthews and Ryan O'Reilly are the finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy.
The award is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.
MacKinnon, a center, was fifth in the NHL with 93 points (35 goals, 58 assists) and was plus-13, leading Colorado Avalanche forwards in average ice time per game (21:13) before the season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. He was assessed five penalties totaling 12 minutes, each the fewest of his seven NHL seasons, and was tied for third in the NHL in net penalties at plus-18 (23 drawn, five taken). A first-time finalist, MacKinnon would be the third Avalanche player to win the award and first since O'Reilly in 2013-14.
MacKinnon led Colorado to the Western Conference Second Round, where it was defeated by the Dallas Stars in seven games. He was leading the Stanley Cup Playoffs in scoring (25 points; nine goals, 16 assists) when the Avalanche were eliminated.
Video: MacKinnon continues to dominate for Avalanche
Matthews finished third in the League with an NHL career-high 47 goals and an NHL career-best 80 points in 70 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The center had 12 power-play goals and was plus-19, averaging 20:58 of ice time per game, second among Toronto forwards, and was assessed four minor penalties totaling eight minutes. It is the first Lady Byng nomination for Matthews, who would be the first Maple Leafs player to win the award since Alexander Mogilny in 2002-03.
"That's just kind of how I've always played the game," Matthews said. "It's not such a fun place to watch the game from in the penalty box. I prefer to spend my time not there. I'm not overly physical or kind of an in-your-face kind of player, I just kind of try to use my body position and try to use my stick."
The Maple Leafs lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets in five games in the best-of-5 Stanley Cup Qualifiers. Matthews had six points (two goals, four assists) in the five games.
"It's great recognition for him," Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said of Matthews. "He certainly deserves to be in that class in the League ... it's a great feather in his cap. When you look at what goes into it, of course the penalty minutes and the fact he plays the game with such discipline and keeps himself on the ice as often as possible. But it's not easy to do his job, he's a major focus for the opposition, plays a lot of minutes and to keep his head and stay cool and stay committed and focused on the task at hand is a credit to him and it's nice to see him have the recognition."
O'Reilly scored 61 points (12 goals, 49 assists) and was plus-11, leading the League in face-off wins for the third straight season (880) and led St. Louis Blues forwards in average ice time per game (20:34). The center was assessed five minor penalties totaling 10 minutes in 71 games this season, the seventh time in his 11 NHL seasons he's taken five or fewer. He is a four-time finalist for the award, including each of the past three seasons, and was runner-up to Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers last season.
"I take a lot of pride in being hard to play against," O'Reilly said. "Try to frustrate guys and either drawing penalties or forcing them to take penalties. As a players, I do what I can to make it tough on the other guys and when I can do that and frustrate and not get penalized for it and be respected for it is obviously something I am proud of."
The Blues finished with the best points percentage (.662) in the West to qualify for the playoffs, but lost to the Vancouver Canucks in seven games in the Western Conference First Round. He had 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in nine postseason games
"He takes pride into playing hard and playing the right way, taking a lot less penalties than most players, which is really impressive because he does play down low a lot," Blues forward David Perron said. "He wants to do things well at all times on the ice. He's just a good guy to have around, a good leader."
The 2020 NHL Awards were scheduled for June 18 in Las Vegas but were postponed March 25.
NHL.com independent correspondents Louie Korac and Dave McCarthy contributed to this report