Another day, another individual award for the Carolina Hurricanes. The NHL announced Friday night that Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin is the winner of the 2021 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, given annually to the player who best combines sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct with a high standard of playing ability.
Slavin is the first player to win the award for the Hurricanes since Ron Francis in 2001-02. Francis presented him with the award.
Ron Francis presents the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy to this year's winner, Jaccob Slavin. #NHLAwards pic.twitter.com/qdzewZbIoq— NHL (@NHL) June 19, 2021
Throughout the season, Slavin, despite playing 22:59 per game, often against the opposition’s best players, took just one minor penalty, for delay of game puck over the glass.
The voters evidently felt this made him a worthy candidate, as this wasn’t a close race.
Lady Byng voting. Slavin in an absolute landslide pic.twitter.com/SEv5vprOCN— Andrew Schnittker (@aschnitt53) June 19, 2021
Slavin is the fourth defenseman in NHL history to win the award and first since Brian Campbell in 2012. Hurricanes forward Teuvo Teravainen also received one third-place vote for the Lady Byng.
The team’s official release follows:
SLAVIN WINS LADY BYNG TROPHY
Joins Francis as second player to win the award in franchise history
RALEIGH, N.C. – The National Hockey League today announced that Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin has been selected as the winner of the 2020-21 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, given annually to the player who best combines sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct with a high standard of playing ability. He is the second player in franchise history to receive the honor, joining 2001-02 winner Ron Francis. The other two finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy were Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews and Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon.
Slavin, 27, tallied 15 points (3g, 12a) in 52 regular season games in 2020-21. He led the team with 87 blocked shots and ranked second with 24 takeaways. The 6’3”, 213-pound defenseman also averaged a team-high 22:59 of ice time per game while accumulating just two penalty minutes over the course of the season. His career-low 0:02 PIM per game in 2020-21 ranked tied for the fourth-lowest single-season mark of any defenseman playing at least 41 games in NHL history.
Since entering the NHL in 2015-16, Slavin has registered 405 takeaways, which leads all NHL defensemen over that span and trails only Mark Stone (VGK, 541) and Connor McDavid (EDM, 408). He has also accumulated just 60 career penalty minutes, marking the fewest penalty minutes of any NHL defenseman playing at least 350 games in that span. Slavin has been assessed just 0:08 PIM per game over his NHL/Hurricanes career, which ranks tied with Will Butcher (NJD) for the second-fewest by a defenseman in NHL history (min. 200 games played). The only defenseman in NHL history with a lower mark is Bill Quackenbush (1942-56: 0:07), who was awarded the Lady Byng Trophy with Detroit in 1948-49 and again named a finalist with Boston in 1950-51.
Slavin recorded five assists in eight games during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and his 17 career postseason assists rank tied for fifth in franchise history and first among defensemen. He has yet to be assessed a penalty through 31 career NHL/Hurricanes postseason games, and he is the only defenseman in NHL history who has not been assessed a penalty in as many playoff games played.
Slavin is the fourth defenseman in NHL history to win the Lady Byng Trophy and the first to accomplish the feat in 10 seasons, joining Quackenbush, Red Kelly (DET, 1950-51, 1952-53, 1953-54; TOR, 1960-61) and Brian Campbell (FLA, 2011-12). He and Spurgeon were the first two defensemen to be named finalists since Campbell won the award, and only five different defensemen have been named finalists since 1955-56. Brian Leetch (NYR) was also a finalist in 1991-92, and Nicklas Lidstrom (DET) was a six-time finalist from 1998-99 to 2010-11.