Matt Moulson, A Lady Byng Finalist

It was announced three days ago that Islanders forward, Matt Moulson has been named as a finalist for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, which goes to the player judged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct while also displaying a high level of playing ability.

 

(shutterspeak/Flickr)

Per the Isles official press release:

UNIONDALE, NY, April 23, 2011 – The National Hockey League announced today that New York Islanders forward Matt Moulson has been named a finalist for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability. Moulson is one of three finalists who will attend the 2012 NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas on Wednesday, June 20.

Moulson, 28, recorded career highs in goals (36), assists (33) and points (69) this season, while recording only six penalty minutes. He led the Islanders in goals for the third consecutive season, surpassed the 30-goal mark for the third-straight year, and also maintaining his Iron Man games-played streak, appearing in all 82 regular season games for the third year in-a-row.

The last player to have at least 36 goals with fewer than 10 penalty minutes was Paul Kariya, who scored 44 goals while drawing only three minor penalties in 1996-97 for Anaheim. Kariya won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in 1996 and 1997.

Moulson has already received a pair of Islanders awards this season. On Thursday, April 5, during the Islanders home season finale, he was honored with both the Islanders Community Service Award and the Islanders Good Guy Award. The Islanders Community Service Award is presented annually to the player who makes the strongest impact on the Long Island community throughout the year. The recipient is selected by the Islanders organization and serves as the team’s nomination for the NHL Foundation Player Award. The Islanders Good Guy Award is presented annually to the player who best displays professionalism, courtesy and cooperation with the media.

At this stage of his career, there might not be anything more rewarding to Moulson than winning an NHL award. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 9th round of the 2003 Entry Draft before being traded to the L.A. Kings. He barely was able to crack their line-up and signed with the Islanders after impressing in training camp while playing with John Tavares, two childhood friends since JT used to play lacrosse with Matt's younger brother.

Since then, Moulson has emerged as a top goal scorer in the NHL and has been one of the most lethal scoring threats for the Islanders on a consistent basis. He had a career year with 69 points while leading the team in goals and only amassed a total of three minor penalties.

Other finalists include Brian Campbell of the Florida Panthers, who scored 53 points from the blue line and only had 6 PIMs as well. The other finalist is Edmonton Oilers forward Jordan Eberle, who had 76 points in 78 games played and 10 PIMs on the year.

Obviously Eberle had a better offensive year than Moulson, but he did have four more penalty minutes than Moulson. It's going to be a close call at the awards, but it is great to see that the league has honored Moulson's fair contributions to the league in a year which officiating has been criticized heavily. 

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On a side note, a friend of mine that goes by the name of Marc Williams is a die hard Rangers fan that wrote a great preview for tonight's Game 7 match-up with the Ottawa Senators. I know, he is a Rangers blogger, but in knowing him I can trust you that he is a hockey fan first and a Rangers fan second - read his preview and you will see that I am not lying. It's going to be a fun game to watch.

-Rob McGowan
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