The NHL's award season just keeps rolling on.
The NHL unveiled the three finalists for the 2022 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy on Wednesday morning, with Winnipeg's Kyle Connor, Carolina's Jaccob Slavin, and Minnesota's Jared Spurgeon emerging as the finalists to take home the hardware.
To offer a quick refresher, the Lady Byng is somewhat of a unique award, given annually to the player "adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability,”
In that case, all three finalists make compelling cases for themselves.
Connor earns his first-ever nomination off the back of a wonderful season, racking up a career-best 47 goals and 93 points as one of the lone bright spots during a disastrous Jets season. The kicker, though? Connor took just two minor penalties all season, managing to emerge as one of the premier players in the NHL while playing a nearly perfectly clean brand of hockey.
Returning to defend his title from last season is Jaccob Slavin, whose 10 minutes of penalties is downright egregious by his standards, given that he only committed a single, puck-over-glass minor in 2021. Still, Slavin does the impossible in the modern NHL, logging nearly 24 minutes per night against top competition and rarely, if ever, landing on the wrong side of the rule book.
Then there's Spurgeon to round out the group of finalists, whose total of 10 penalty minutes and his role as one of his team's most crucial defenders is remarkably similar to Slavin. Spurgeon scored at the highest pace of his career on a per-game basis in 2021-22 while averaging nearly 22 minutes in Minnesota's top-four.
That's as gentlemanly as it gets.
With the finalists locked in, fans will have to wait a few weeks to find out who comes out on top.