by PuckStopsHere on 02/23/11 at 03:33 AM ET
The Lady Byng Trophy goes to the player who best combines sportsmanship and a high level of play. In early November I picked Loui Eriksson as the leader. Eriksson is certainly a strong Lady Byng candidate. He is having the best year of his career so far. He has 55 career points and is playing solid defence. He has only six penalty minutes so far this season. However I think there is another player who is playing better hockey and also has a very high level of sportsmanship in Martin St Louis. St Louis is the fourth highest scorer in the league with 69 points. Many argue that his passing is a big part of the reason that Steve Stamkos leads the league in goals. St Louis is last year’s Lady Byng winner. He has only eight penalty minutes on the season. Thus I think St Louis is a better Lady Byng candidate.
Martin St Louis has won a reasonable amount of hardware in his career so far. He has a Hart Trophy, Art Ross Trophy and a Lester Pearson Award to go with last year’s Lady Byng. He has won a Stanley Cup and represented Canada in the 2004 Olympics. He has six career All Star Games played. These are credentials that are consistent with a Hall of Fame career. The problem is that St Louis does not yet have great career numbers. He has 748 points in 831 career games. Those are pretty poor for a Hall of Fame forward. St Louis had a slow start to his career. He was 25 before he played an entire season in the NHL. His first season where he scored above point per game rate was at age 28. That was the year he won his Hart and Art Ross Trophies and Stanley Cup. That was when he first became a top NHL start. His progress was then slowed by the lockout. It was three years later when he got back to the level of NHL stardom. By then St Louis was in his thirties, an age when most players decline. St Louis is yet to show signs of decline, but may have to continue scoring for a while to raise his career numbers to Hall of Fame level. In the meantime, winning awards will help his cause and he is the current Lady Byng leader.
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