I remember that, when I grew up, we always kinda hated on the Lady Byng Trophy because it suggested (to us) that it was usually won by a softie, a weak player, etc. A good player to us also took penalties at times, because he/she "played on the edge." Over time, though, I've come to appreciate the guys who can play this game at a high level and avoid the mistakes that significantly hurt their team. I've even found a bit of evidence that this can be a demonstrable talent in regards to hitting. This is actually the first time I've thought about the Byng in reference to how well a player can engage things like takeaways and hits without committing penalties, and I think my ballot is intuitive to that.
My picks and explanation after the jump.
1st Place: Brian Campbell
2nd Place: Adam Henrique
3rd Place: Pavel Datsyuk
Datsyuk, of course, is not new to this trophy, and really it makes sense. He's a takeaway artist, and generally solid in his own end, so the ability to do that without a large number of hooking, interference, and tripping penalties is impressive. In general, I like to give a bit of favor to guys who spent time on the kill, and Henrique did most forwards one better by also committing the incredibly minuscule number of one minor penalty the entire season (in 74 games). But neither Datsyuk nor Henrique impressed me as much as a defenceman committing only three minors in the full 82-game schedule. The defensive game is hard enough to play well (though he had favorable zone starts, Campbell didn't squander them either - +9.9 Corsi Rel), but to accomplish that while committing so few infractions (and with so much ice time - 20.32 minutes per 60 at 5v5, 2nd among NHL defencemen) gets the hat tip from me.