Panthers' Aleksander Barkov Wins 2019 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 20, 2019

SUNRISE, FL - NOVEMBER 11: Aleksander Barkov #16 of the Florida Panthers prepares for a second period face-off against the Ottawa Senators at the BB&T Center on November 11, 2018 in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers defeated the Senators 5-1. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

For the first time in eight seasons, a member of the Florida Panthers won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.

On Wednesday, Aleksander Barkov beat out Sean Monahan of the Calgary Flames and Ryan O'Reilly of the St. Louis Blues for the NHL's sportsmanship award.

NHL Public Relations @PR_NHL

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy winner @Barkovsasha95 had the fewest penalty minutes among the NHL’s top 50 scorers with just eight penalty minutes and a career-high 96 points. Full Results: https://t.co/trRDOGLc3U #NHLAwards #NHLStats https://t.co/TCVcbBBYD7

Since the official definition of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy states it is given to the player "who exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability," few players would be more deserving than Barkov.

The 2018-19 season was another leap forward for Barkov. The 23-year-old set career highs with 35 goals, 61 assists and 96 points in 82 games. He is also terrific at avoiding the penalty box, drawing just 34 minor penalties and eight penalty infraction minutes.

This marks the second straight year Barkov has been a finalist for the award. He finished third in 2017-18, behind William Karlsson of the Vegas Golden Knights and O'Reilly.

In addition to Barkov's career year, his 96 points also set a Panthers franchise record, surpassing Pavel Bure's 94 in 1999-00.

Barkov became only the second Panthers player in franchise history to be awarded the Lady Byng Trophy, with the other being former defenseman Brian Campbell.