Another day, another NHL Awards finalist for the Carolina Hurricanes. After Alex Nedeljkovic was named a Calder finalist Thursday, the NHL announced Saturday that Canes defenseman Jaccob Slavin will be one of three finalists for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, “given annually given annually to the player who best combines sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct with a high standard of playing ability.”
Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Jared Spurgeon of the Minnesota Wild are the other finalists for this year’s award. Despite playing 22:59 per game as a top-pairing defenseman against the opposition’s top players this season, Slavin took one penalty - a delay of game puck over the glass minor - all year.
Slavin is the second Lady Byng finalist in franchise history and first since Ron Francis in 2001-02.
The official release from the team follows:
SLAVIN NAMED LADY BYNG TROPHY FINALIST
Joins Francis as second player to be named a finalist in franchise history
RALEIGH, N.C. – The National Hockey League today announced that Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin has been selected as one of the three finalists for 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. The other finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy are Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews and Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon. The winner will be announced during the Stanley Cup Semifinals or Stanley Cup Final, with date and time to be determined.
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 has recorded four assists in six games during the playoffs this season, and his 16 career postseason assists rank seventh in franchise history and first among defensemen. He has yet to be assessed a penalty through 29 career NHL/Hurricanes postseason games, and he is one of eight players in NHL history and just two defensemen with as many games played and zero penalty minutes in their playoff careers.
Slavin is the second Lady Byng Trophy finalist in franchise history, joining Ron Francis, who won the award in 2001-02. He and Spurgeon are the first two defensemen to be named finalists since Brian Campbell won the award in 2011-12, and only five different defensemen have been named finalists since 1955-56. Brian Leetch (NYR) was a finalist in 1991-92, while Nicklas Lidstrom (DET) was a six-time finalist from 1998-99 to 2010-11. Slavin looks to join Campbell, Red Kelly (1950-51, 1952-53, 1953-54, 1960-61) and Quackenbush as the fourth defenseman to win the Lady Byng trophy.