MacKinnon of Avalanche wins Lady Byng Trophy for gentlemanly conduct

MacKinnon was fifth in the NHL with 93 points (35 goals, 58 assists) and was plus-13, leading Colorado forwards in average ice time per game (21:13) before the season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. The center was assessed five penalties totaling 12 minutes, each the fewest in his seven NHL seasons, and was tied for third in the NHL in net penalties at plus-18 (23 drawn, five taken).

“I respect my opponents. I don’t want to be dirty,” MacKinnon said. “I also want to be trusted by the coaching staff that I won’t take penalties and things like that. I guess with my skating, I try to use my legs to stick check and things like that and not take unnecessary minors. But I never thought I’d win this award. Usually I get more minors than this. But obviously I’m very honored. Some of the best players ever have won this award, so it’s really cool.”

MacKinnon, the third Avalanche player to win the award (Joe Sakic, 2000-01; Ryan O’Reilly 2013-14), helped Colorado (42-20-8, .657 points percentage) reach the Western Conference Second Round, where it was defeated by the Dallas Stars in seven games. He was leading the postseason with 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) when the Avalanche were eliminated.

MacKinnon also is a finalist the Hart Trophy, which is awarded to the most valuable player in the NHL, and the Ted Lindsay Award, which is given annually to the most outstanding player in the NHL as voted by members of the NHL Players’ Association.

“I mean, obviously I’m hopeful,” MacKinnon said. “It’d be really cool to win that (Hart). But I’m not counting on anything. A couple years ago, it meant more to me then than it does now. Whether you win it or not, your career goes on, life goes on. Just trying to get better, continue to strive to get better every day and become a better player, better person, things like that. I’m competitive. I want to win everything I’m up for. But you know, at the end of the day, I just want to win the Stanley Cup. Didn’t happen this year. Feels like still bitter, bitter taste, but we’ll see what happens with the individual stuff.”

[RELATED: NHL Lady Byng Memorial Trophy Winners]

O’Reilly of the St. Louis Blues and Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs were the other finalists for the award, which was voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association before the playoffs began.

O’Reilly, the Selke runner-up to Florida Panthers center Alexander Barkov last season as the best defensive forward in the NHL, led the Blues in scoring with 61 points (12 goals, 49 assists) in 71 games; the center was assessed five minor penalties. Matthews was the Maple Leafs’ leading scorer with 80 points (47 goals, 33 assists) in 70 games; the center took four minor penalties.

The 2020 NHL Awards had been scheduled for June 18 in Las Vegas but were postponed March 25.

2020 Lady Byng Trophy voting

Points (1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th)

1. Nathan MacKinnon, COL 984 (64-33-13-13-9)

2. Auston Matthews, TOR 616 (21-32-25-14-15)

3. Ryan O’Reilly, STL 561 (10-31-34-20-14)

4. Jaccob Slavin, CAR 497 (31-12-13-8-14)

5. Teuvo Teravainen, CAR 322 (6-14-20-14-22)

6. Zach Werenski, CBJ 234 (6-9-12-14-9)

7. Ryan Suter, MIN 180 (4-9-4-14-15)

8. Mika Zibanejad, NYR 156 (5-4-10-7-7)

9. Alexander Barkov, FLA 103 (3-2-7-7-3)

10. Leon draisaitl, EDM   93 (0-6-5-8-2)

11. Brayden Point, TBL   91 (0-2-7-11-9)

12. Elias Pettersson, FROM 83 (3-2-4-6-1)

13. Miro Heiskanen, FROM 62 (1-2-4-4-6)

14. Zach Parise, MIN 59 (2-4-0-2-5)

15. Nicklas Backstrom, WSH 46 (2-2-1-2-1)

16. Artemi Panarin, NYR 37 (2-0-2-1-4)

17. Alex Pietrangelo, STL 37 (1-1-2-3-1)

18. James van Riemsdyk, PHI 30 (1-1-0-4-1)

19. Marc-Andre Fleury, VGK 22 (2-0-0-0-2)

20. Patrice Bergeron, BOS 22 (1-0-1-2-1)

21. Connor Hellebuyck, WPG 17 (1-1-0-0-0)

22. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, SJS 15 (1-0-0-1-2)

23. Sidney Crosby, PIT 13 (1-0-0-1-0)

23. Jared Spurgeon, MIN 13 (1-0-0-1-0)

25. Johnny Gaudreau, CGY 13 (0-0-0-3-4)

26. Patrick Marleau, PIT 12 (0-1-1-0-0)

26. William Nylander, TOR 12 (0-1-1-0-0)

28. Braden Holtby, WSH 10 (1-0-0-0-0)

29. Victor Olofsson, BUF 9 (0-0-1-1-1)

30. Anze Kopitar, LAK 8 (0-0-0-2-2)

30. Mitchell Marner, TOR 8 (0-0-0-2-2)

32. That Lindell, FROM 7 (0-1-0-0-0)

33. Frans Nielsen, DET 6 (0-0-1-0-1)

34. Jack Eichel, BUF 5 (0-0-1-0-0)

34. Joe Thornton, SJS 5 (0-0-1-0-0)

36. Evgenii Dadonov, FLA 5 (0-0-0-1-2)

36. Nick Suzuki, MTL 5 (0-0-0-1-2)

38. Will Butcher, NJD 4 (0-0-0-1-1)

39. Kyle Okposo, BUF 3 (0-0-0-1-0)

39. Riley Sheahan, EDM 3 (0-0-0-1-0)

41. Cale Makar, COL 3 (0-0-0-0-3)

42. Jason Dickinson, FROM 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

42. Erik Gudbranson, ANA 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

42. Roman Josi, NSH 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

42. William Karlsson, VGK 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

42. Max Pacioretty, VGK 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

42. Colton Parayko, STL 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

42. Matt Roy, LAK 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

42. Nate Schmidt, VGK 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

42. Steven Stamkos, TBL 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

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