Kyle David Connor of the Winnipeg Jets is the 2021-22 recipient of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. The award is handed out each NHL season to the “Player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of
Kyle David Connor of the Winnipeg Jets is the 2021-22 recipient of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. Each NHL season, the award is handed out to the “Player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” This is Connor’s first time winning the award and his first major trophy of any kind at the NHL level. The 25-year-old had 47 goals and 46 assists, career highs, while compiling only four minutes in penalties in 79 games.
Last year’s winners, Jacob Slavin of the Carolina Hurricanes and Jared Spurgeon of the Minnesota Wild, were nominee finalists. Connor joins such NHL elites as Wayne Gretzky, Mike Bossy, and Martin St. Louis, who have each won the award multiple times. One of Connor’s penalties was a hooking call on the Islander’s Mathew Barzal, while the other was a slash on the Oiler’s Connor McDavid. Connor half-jokingly said he didn’t deserve the call on McDavid.
The award has been handed out 89 times to 54 different players since 1925. Gretzky has five of them, Red Kelly and Pavel Datsyuk have four. Alex Delvecchio, Bobby Bauer, Ron Francis, Bossy, and St. Louis have four each. One of the greatest Lady Byng stories ever is that of Stan Makita. After recording back-to-back seasons of 140 plus penalty minutes, Chicago Blackhawk management spoke to Makita and suggested they could better use him as a scorer and that perhaps he should spend less time in the penalty box. Two years later, he had 12 PIMs and followed that up with 14, winning two Lady Byng trophies in the process. In the last ten seasons, two winners have had only one minor penalty in an entire season; Ryan O’Reilly with Colorado in 2013-14 and the aforementioned Slavin last season.
Only one other Jet player during the 2.0 era has won a major NHL award. Goalie Connor Helleybuyck took home the Vezina in 2019-20. This writer does not acknowledge any statistics from the previous Atlanta Thrashers as being Jet related (you can Google Dany Heatley and Ilya Kovalchuk). Winnipeg Jets 1.0 major award winners included Dale Hawerchuk (1981-82) and Teemu Selanne (1992-93) with Calder Memorial Trophies, Tom Watt (1981-82) and Bob Murdoch (1989-90) with the Jack Adams Award, and Kris King (1995-96) with the King Clancy Memorial Trophy.