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Elias Pettersson finishes second in 2024 Lady Byng voting

Jaccob Slavin won the 2024 Lady Byng but Elias Pettersson's second-place finish suggests he could win the award in the future.
Elias Pettersson was recognized for his gentlemanly play, finishing second behind Jaccob Slavin in Lady Byng voting.

Elias Pettersson isn't the most gentlemanly player in the NHL but he's awfully close.

The Vancouver Canucks' franchise forward has been known to stop in the middle of play to check on injured opponents or help them to the bench, which epitomizes sportsmanship. He also takes few penalties, which is often a consideration in Lady Byng voting because the things that typically get penalized are not particularly gentlemanly.

Accordingly, Pettersson was a top-three finalist this year for the Lady Byng Trophy, which is awarded "to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability." The award is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

It's Pettersson's first year as a finalist for the Lady Byng but he won't be taking the award home this year. He finished second in voting behind Carolina Hurricanes defenceman Jaccob Slavin. 

It's Slavin's second Lady Byng of his career and he's a worthy winner of the award. Despite playing big minutes against tough competition, Slavin rarely gets penalized, finishing the season with just four minor penalties across 81 games to go with a reputation as one of the "nice guys" in the NHL. He received a first-place vote on 81 of the 194 ballots.

Pettersson was a distant second behind Slavin, receiving just 13 first-place votes, but he still appeared on 93 ballots, ahead of third-place finished Auston Matthews. Pettersson had just six minor penalties this season while putting up 34 goals and 89 points in 82 games. Among players in the top 20 in NHL scoring, Pettersson had the fewest penalty minutes.

It's the highest finish ever for a Canuck in Lady Byng voting. In fact, he's the first Canuck in the nearly century-long history of the award to be a top-three finalist. 

Given Pettersson's squeaky-clean reputation and penalty-free style of play — despite his penchant for reverse hits and "charging" — it seems likely that this won't be the last time he's up for the award and he has a strong chance of winning it at some point in his career.

Three other Canucks also received votes for the award: Brock Boeser, Ilya Mikheyev, and Thatcher Demko. Boeser finished 16th in voting with two third-place votes, seven fourth-place votes, and seven fifth-place votes. Mikheyev finished 30th but actually received two second-place votes, as well as two fourth-place votes and a fifth-place vote. Demko received a single fifth-place vote to tie for 71st.

The Lady Byng is the second-oldest individual trophy in the NHL's history, introduced in the 1924-25 season the year after the Hart Trophy was first awarded to the league's MVP. The original trophy was donated to the NHL by Lady Byng of Vimy, who was the viceregal consort of Canada — the spouse of the governor general — at the time.