Red Wings' Datsyuk gunning for 4th Lady Byng Trophy
Devils' Parise, Lightning's St. Louis the other finalists for NHL award
Zach Parise, who led the New Jersey Devils in scoring this season, is new to the race for the Lady Byng Trophy and will attempt to unseat Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk for the first time in four years.
Parise and Datsyuk were named finalists as the NHL's most gentlemanly player on Friday along with Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis, with the winner to be named June 18 in Las Vegas.
Datsyuk, 30, led the Red Wings in assists (65) and points (97) during the regular season, but stayed away from the penalty box with just 22 minutes in penalties.
The Russian centre is vying to become the first man to win four straight Lady Byng awards since New York Rangers forward Frank Boucher did it from 1928-1931.
Boucher won the trophy seven times in an eight-year span ending in 1935 and was runner-up to Joe Primeau of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the year he missed out in 1932.
Past winners include all-time scoring leader Wayne Gretzky, who won it five times between 1980 and 1999, and goal-scoring star Mike Bossy, who took it three times in the 1980s.
Last season, the versatile Datsyuk won both the Lady Byng and the Selke Trophy as the league's best defensive forward and will likely be in the running to take them both again. Selke finalists are to be announced on Tuesday. He also draws votes for the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player but is a long shot to win.
Parise, 24, enjoyed a breakout season, finishing second in the league with 45 goals. He finished with 95 points, a plus-30 rating and just 24 penalty minutes.
St. Louis, the league MVP and scoring leader in 2004, finished with 80 points (30 goals, 50 assists) in 82 games and had just 14 minutes in penalties. The 33-year-old Laval, Que., native has earned runner-up honours the last two years.
"It's a trophy that some great players have their name on," said St. Louis, a former Hart and Art Ross Trophy winner. "I've been a finalist before, and I'd love to win it. It's always an honour to be considered for any trophies."
Next week, finalists will be announced for the Vezina (goaltender), Selke (defensive forward), Hart (MVP), Masterton (perseverance) and Jack Adams (coach of the year) trophies.