Aleksander Barkov (Florida Panthers), William Karlsson (Vegas Golden Knights) and Ryan O'Reilly (Buffalo Sabres) were named finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy on Friday. The award is given annually to the player voted to best combine sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct and ability.
The winner will be announced at the 2018 NHL Awards presented by Hulu at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on June 20.
Barkov, a 22-year-old center, had an NHL career high 78 points (27 goals, 51 assists), the most by a Panthers player since Olli Jokinen (91 points; 39 goals, 52 assists) in 2006-07. Barkov was second among forwards in average ice time (22:04) behind Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar (22:05), receiving seven minor penalties and 14 penalty minutes. Barkov is a finalist for the second time in three seasons; he finished second in 2015-16. He could become the second Panthers player to win the award; defenseman Brian Campbell won in 2011-12.
Video: Lady Byng Memorial Trophy finalists are discussed
Karlsson, a 25-year-old center, finished third in the NHL with 43 goals and led the League with a plus-49 rating in 82 games. He took six minor penalties; his 12 penalty minutes were the fewest among the League's top 40 scorers. Karlsson would become the first player to win an end-of-season trophy for a team in its inaugural NHL season since Wayne Gretzky won the Hart and Lady Byng trophies for the Edmonton Oilers in 1979-80.
O'Reilly, a 27-year-old center, had 61 points (24 goals, 37 assists) and won 1,274 face-offs, the most by any player since the NHL began tracking the statistic in 1997-98. He received one minor penalty, the fewest of any player with at least 41 games played. O'Reilly won the Lady Byng with the Colorado Avalanche in 2013-14 and would be the second Sabres player to win the trophy; Gilbert Perreault did it in 1972-73.