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Lady Byng finalists unveiled

2017 Lady Byng Trophy  

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NEW YORK - Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau , Minnesota Wild center Mikael Granlund and St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko are the three finalists for the 2016-17 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, which is 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 21, during the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.


Following are the finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy, in alphabetical order:


Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Calgary Flames

Gaudreau (18-43-61 in 72 GP) reached the 40-assist and 60-point milestones for the third time in as many NHL seasons to propel the Flames to their second playoff berth in three years. He registered a career-low two minor penalties and four penalty minutes, tied for the fewest among skaters who appeared in at least 41 games. However, Gaudreau's average time on ice (18:29) was four minutes greater than anyone else in that group. The 23-year-old Salem, N.J., native is an NHL Trophy finalist for the second time, after finishing third in voting for the Calder Memorial Trophy in 2014-15. He is vying to become the second Calgary player to win the Lady Byng Trophy in the past three seasons, following Jiri Hudler in 2014-15.


Mikael Granlund, C, Minnesota Wild

Granlund posted career highs in goals (26), assists (43) and points (69) - as well as several other offensive categories - to lead the Wild in scoring and power Minnesota to its best season in franchise history. He also set a career high and franchise record with a 12-game point streak Jan. 12 - Feb. 4 (5-12-17), capped by his first career hat trick and four-point performance Feb. 4 at VAN (3-1-4). Granlund received just six minor penalties and 12 penalty minutes (in 81 GP), tied for the fewest among the League's top 30 scorers. The 25-year-old Oulu, Finland, native - who is a first-time NHL Award finalist - is aiming to become the first player in Wild history to capture the Lady Byng Trophy.


Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, St. Louis Blues

Playing in all 82 games for the first time, Tarasenko shared fourth place in the NHL with 39 goals and ranked 10th with a career-high 75 points to lead the Blues to their sixth consecutive playoff berth. In doing so, he became the first St. Louis player to record at least 70 points in three straight seasons since Brett Hull from 1995-96 through 1997-98. Like Granlund, Tarasenko totaled six minor penalties and 12 penalty minutes - career lows when appearing in at least 41 contests. The 25-year-old Yaroslavl, Russia, native is an NHL Trophy finalist for the first time and is attempting to become the fourth Blues player to win the Lady Byng, following Phil Goyette (1969-70), Hull (1989-90) and Pavol Demitra (1999-00).



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 NHL presented a new trophy, changing the name to the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.


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Either of Tarasenko or Granlund would be fitting, but I'd pick Granlund.


Both those guys play with at least some measure of engagement and physicality (ie 50 hits each and Granlund actually will block a shot) - whereas Gaudreau has no choice but to tiptoe around the ice avoiding contact at all costs = one dimensional, extremely soft player.


I'd go with Granlund due to what I think is his relative grit compared to the other two - while playing a clean game.

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