2013 NHL Awards: Blackhawks Byng?

On Tuesday we kicked off our series looking at the potential of Blackhawks players bringing home hardware at the 2013 NHL Awards. In the first installment, we made the case for Jonathan Toews to win the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward.

Now, let’s look at the Lady Byng.


The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy is annually given to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season.

Since the last lockout, only three different players have won the Lady Byng. Detroit’ Pavel Datsyuk won the award four straight seasons, followed by Tampa’s Martin St. Louis winning back-to-back years. Last year, former Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell won the award.

The first candidate for the Lady Byng on our list would be Ryan Callahan of the New York Rangers. Among all NHL forwards, Callahan ranks fifth in average ice time per game (21:22), and his 137 hits rank 10th. As the captain of the Rangers, he has been a respected leader and plays a physical game the right way.

Our second candidate would be Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk. As we mentioned when discussing the Selke, as long as he’s playing it’s hard to imagine Datsyuk wouldn’t be considered for this award. He is averaging 20:06 on the ice this year, and has accumulated only 14 penalty minutes to date.

This year, there’s one player on the Blackhawks that should have a fantastic chance to win the award: Patrick Kane.

Kane has had a magnificent season, showing a maturity that many had written off in recent seasons. Through Monday night’s win, Kane has been called for only six penalty minutes all season while averaging 20:08 on ice per game. Only 23 forwards in the NHL are averaging more than 20 minutes per game this year, and only three of the other 22 have less than 10 PIM to date. Only Toronto’s Tyler Bozak and Kane are averaging over 20 minutes per game with only six penalty minutes to date.

lady byngThe Winner: Kane

Kane being a point-per-game player while skating a heavy workload every night and maintaining low penalty minutes fits the profile of St. Louis and Datsyuk over the last decade. However, where Kane may gain momentum in the voting this year may be in the defensive zone; his work has noticeably improved, and Kane is now 13th among all forwards with 35 takeaways.

Our vote would put Callahan as the runner-up and, as was the case with the Selke, Datsyuk in third.

6 thoughts on “2013 NHL Awards: Blackhawks Byng?

  • April 17, 2013 at 10:51 am

    I’d go with Hossa as the Hawks candidate. Sure, he gets hit with a couple penalties, but they are pretty incidental to the physical game he plays and almost never do you see him get involved in any of the extracurriculars, trash talking or other garbage that happens on the ice. And look at the way he reacted to the hit from our buddy Raffi Torres last year–such a gentleman.

    I think Kane still carries just a little of the I’m a young superstar and a bit of a punk attitude. But he certainly is maturing and has come a LONG way. Maybe in the next couple years if he keep trending the way he is.

  • April 17, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Ya… I think Kane is definatly trending in the right direction and should be in the Byng conversation. But i think Callahan might take it this year. He plays high minutes… he plays on the PK, he plays on the PP, and he plays the game the right way like Tab said.

  • April 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    It’s hard to say how the voters will go this year…certainly the Hawks record will play a significant factor in the result…Callahan is very deserved as well.

    Kane would be a very worthy winner.

  • April 17, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Kane ‘s transformation into a much more well rounded two way player ought to work in his favour. Still a kid by so many standards he is proving his worth a both ends of the ice. The penalty minutes are way down from previous years. Still a few games to go but there is no doubt Kane should be a strong candidate. The award is not just about ice time and PIM – production counts too and there Kane has a huge edge.

  • April 19, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Kane’s ‘transformation’ may have come too suddenly to sway voters away from players who are more perennial type candidates. He may have to prove his reputation as this type of player for another year before voters buy in.

    I don’t subscribe to that idea though and feel he’s an obvious choice for it this year. It will be interesting for sure

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