It's been a busy night for the Flames thus far at the NHL Awards, with four nominations and one win so far with Bob Hartley's Jack Adams win. Jiri Hudler doubled that total after taking home the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy tonight.
Annually awarded to the "player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability," it is easy to see why the voters (PWHA writers) deemed Hudler most suitable. His 2014-15 season saw him best his personal points record by 19 while also setting a personal low for penalty minutes with just 14. He continued this show of form into the postseason, tallying 11 points with only two PIMs. Most notably, Hudler took Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan under his wing, leading them to dominant seasons.
Hudler faced stiff competition this year. Up against him was former teammate Pavel Datsyuk, who is the only player to have won four consecutive Lady Byngs, and Anze Kopitar, who has been in the running ever since 2008-09. Hats off to both players, who also performed admirably this season. Datsyuk scored 65 points this year, his highest since 2011-12, while only amassing eight penalty minutes. Kopitar had similar numbers, scoring 64 and being penalized for 10 minutes this entire season.
This win marks Hudler's first personal trophy. He has had brushes with the Lady Byng before, finishing 55th and 27th place in 2007-08 and 2008-09 respectively, losing both times to Datsyuk. The only other Flame to have won the Lady Byng was Joe Mullen, who won in 1986-87, and 1988-89.
Once again, congratulations to Kopitar and Datsyuk on their excellent season, and congratulations to Papa Hudler for his well deserved award.