William Karlsson won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy at the NHL Awards Wednesday night. His 12 penalty minutes got him voted in an elite class with Ryan O’Reilly (two penalty minutes in 81 games) and Aleksander Barkov (14 penalty minutes in 79 games). The award is Karlsson’s first, but hopefully not his last.
“It’s very special,” said Karlsson. “Being nominated is one thing, but to win it, it’s been a crazy year.”
Karlsson’s penalties break down like this; out of six penalties, three were for tripping, and one each for holding, interference and hooking. He only had penalties in five games (out of 82). He also never had a major penalty this season, and didn’t take a penalty until December. His 12 penalty minutes were the fewest among top-40 scorers this season.
He held himself in check the entire season, never getting out of hand, and looked like a calm presence for the team.
In his speech, Karlsson thanked his family, Bill Foley, George McPhee and the coaching staff, as well as his teammates (especially his linemates) and the fans.
His award was presented by members of the U.S. Women’s hockey team, who won gold at the 2018 Peyongchang Olympics, and of the Canadian Women’s team, who won silver.
Karlsson was the first player to win an award for an inaugural season team since Wayne Gretzky.
After receiving his award, Karlsson made it clear that this may be the first of many successful campaigns down the road.
“Going into the summer motivated. I want to try and get better. Obviously, we didn’t go all the way this year. That’s the goal we have. I’m very hungry to get going and excited for next year.”