New York Rangers Artemi Panarin snubbed for Lady Byng trophy

By Anthony Scultore
Jan 19, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (10) honors the NHLs first Black player Willie O’Ree with a commemorative helmet sticker prior to a game against the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/Pool Photos-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin, and Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon are the three finalists for the NHL’s Lady Byng Trophy for the 2020-21 season.

The Lady Byng is presented annually to the player who combines sportsmanship and fair play in conjunction with a high skill level. Apparently, being one of the top scorers in the NHL with only six penalty minutes in total isn’t even enough to warrant consideration.

Flat out! Artemi Panarin was snubbed. Still think there isn’t anti-New York bias out there in the hockey media?

Artemi Panarin snubbed for Lady Byng

Artemi Panarin
Apr 1, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (10) on the ice for warmups before a game against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers leading scorer registered 58 points in just 42 games. Panarin’s 1.38 points per game was third highest in the league this season. His six penalty minutes are among the lowest for top point getters. Yet somehow, he was not even considered for the Lady Byng Trophy.

How?!!! I don’t know? Maybe the PHWA felt that two minute minor he was assessed after being body slammed by Tom Wilson to end his season was a bridge too far. This one is an absolute head scratcher.

Auston Matthews favorite to win Lady Byng Trophy

Matthews, 23, won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy this season after scoring an NHL-leading 41 goals in 52 games. He also received 10 penalty minutes, which were the second-fewest among the NHL’s top 25 scorers, behind only the New York Rangers’ Artemi Panarin, who logged six penalty minutes in 42 games.

I repeat – SECOND ONLY TO ARTEMI PANARIN!

Slavin, 27, took just one penalty – a two-minute minor – in 52 games this season while averaging 22:59 of ice time per game. The six-year veteran has amassed just 60 penalty minutes in his 429-game NHL career.

Spurgeon, 31, took just three minor penalties in 54 games while averaging 22:05 of ice time. Spurgeon has recorded no more than 20 penalty minutes in a single season in his 11-year career.

Slavin and Spurgeon are first-time Lady Byng finalists while Matthews finished second in last year’s voting.

The winners of the 2021 NHL Awards will be revealed during the Stanley Cup semifinals and Stanley Cup Final, with exact dates, format and times to be announced.

— Field Level Media contributed to this article

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