Jaccob Slavin is not only a top-tier NHL defenceman. He's now officially a gentleman.
On Saturday night, the Hurricanes defender was announced as the winner of the 2021 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded to the "player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability", as voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
With this victory, Slavin becomes just the fourth defenceman to ever win the Lady Byng and the first since Brian Campbell took home the hardware in 2012. Toronto's Auston Matthews and Minnesota's Jared Spurgeon finished as the runners-up.
This might be the most obvious awards pick in recent sports history.
Despite averaging more ice time per game than any other member of the Hurricanes, Slavin was called for a grand total of one minor penalty this season. That penalty? A measly delay of game infraction for flipping the puck over the glass -- meaning that, when it came to putting his opponents in harm's way, Slavin essentially strung together a completely clean campaign. Not a single accidental trip, slash, or hook. And when factoring in that the 27-year-old plays a game that constitutes slapping a piece of rubber around a frozen pond while wearing knives for shoes, avoiding any sort of physical infraction for a full season should be nearly impossible.
But Slavin managed to do it. And now he's going home with the hardware to prove it..