Though Colorado Avalanche superstar Nathan MacKinnon certainly cares more about the results of the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award, for which he is also a finalist, he can add at least one major award to his mantle for this season. The NHL announced this evening that MacKinnon is the 2020 recipient of the Lady Byng Award, his first time receiving the honor.
The Lady Byng Trophy, as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association, is awarded to the player who “best combines sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct and ability.” MacKinnon undoubtedly has the ability; he has topped 90 points in each of the past three seasons including finishing fifth in scoring this season with 93 points. However, MacKinnon is also among the elite in staying out of the penalty box, especially given his considerable ice time. Skating in 69 games this season at over 21 minutes per game, MacKinnon managed just 12 penalty minutes on the year.
While voting for the Lady Byng often casts a wide net, MacKinnon received 64 of a possible 170 first-place votes, more than double that of Jaccob Slavin of the Carolina Hurricanes, who received the second-most first-place votes. In total voting points, MacKinnon also finished more than 350 points ahead of Toronto’s Auston Matthews in second, with St. Louis’ Ryan O’Reilly and Slavin even further behind in third and fourth respectively.