The NHL announced on Thursday that center Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings,, Buffalo Sabres right wing Jason Pominville, and right wing Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning are the three finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy in 2007-08.
The trophy is awarded to the player who best exemplifies sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of play after balloting by members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association at the end of the regular season. The top three vote-getters are the finalists. The winner will be announced Thursday, June 12 during the 2008 NHL Awards Television Special.
Datsyuk won the Byng in 2006 and 2007, and could become the first player in more than 70 years to win it three seasons in a row. Frank Boucher of the New York Rangers was the last, in 1933 through 1935, during a record run of seven in eight seasons. Datsyuk was the NHL's fourth-leading scorer this season, achieving a career-high of 97 points (31 goals, 66 assists) in 82 games. He also and led the league with a +41 rating, and the Red Wings in scoring for the third consecutive season, matching Detroit legends Ted Lindsay, Gordie Howe and Steve Yzerman.
Pominville is a first-time Byng finalist. He concluded his second NHL season with a scorching run after the All-Star break: 42 points in his final 34 games. Only Evgeni Malkin (49) of the Penguins, Alex Ovechkin of the Captials (47) and Sabres linemate Derek Roy (44) scored more during that stretch.. Pominville finished with a career-high of 80 points (27 goals, 53 assists) in 82 games, leading the Sabres in assists and plus-minus (+16). A formidable two-way played, Pominville scored 25 of his 27 goals at even strength (24) or shorthanded (one).
St. Louis is a Byng finalist for the third time. He was the runner-up to Datsyuk in last season's balloting and finished third in 2004. He hit the 80-point plateau for the third time in the past four seasons, finishing second on the Lightning in scoring with 83 points (25 goals, 58 assists) in 82 games. He led the team in assists and shorthanded goals (two), tied for the club lead in power-play goals (10) and led all NHL forwards in ice time for the second season in a row: an average of 24:17 per game.