Jared Spurgeon became only the second player in Wild history to be named a finalist for the Lady Byng award, when it was announced Saturday that the Minnesota defenseman, Toronto center Auston Matthews and Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin were up for the honor that goes to the player judged to have shown sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.
Former Wild forward Mikael Granlund finished third in the voting in 2016-17.
Spurgeon, who is listed at 5-9, 167 pounds, had seven goals and 25 points in 54 games this season and three assists in seven playoff games. His 18 assists and points led Wild defensemen. Spurgeon, who was named the Wild captain before the season, led the team in blocked shots (102), was third in power-play points (nine) and fourth in shots (94). Spurgeon only took six minutes in penalties during the season.
Matthews, who was second in Lady Byng voting last season, led the NHL with 41 goals in 52 games and was called for 10 minutes in penalties. Slavin took only one minor penalty all season in 52 games and that was for flipping the puck over the glass. He had three goals and 12 assists.
Just being a finalist is an accomplishment for Spurgeon and Slavin.
The Lady Byng has been won by one defenseman since 1954 — Brian Campbell of the Florida Panthers in 2012. Three other defenseman, Campbell, Brian Leetch and Nicklas Lidstrom, have been named finalists for the honor in the past 65 years.
Spurgeon joins Kirill Kaprizov as Wild players nominated for NHL awards this week. Kaprizov is a finalist for the Calder Trophy, which goes to the league’s rookie of the year. The winner of the awards will be revealed during the Stanley Cup semifinals and Stanley Cup Final, with exact dates, format and times to be announced.