Jack Hughes still gets love for Lady Bing Trophy, but two other Devils do better

Jack Hughes was the expected winner of the Lady Bing Trophy coming into this season, but he had a much different attitude. Many joked he was no longer "considered" for the trophy, but some voters still have him their vote.
New York Rangers v New Jersey Devils
New York Rangers v New Jersey Devils / Elsa/GettyImages

The New Jersey Devils thought they were going to be steeped in the trophy race at the end of this season. Nico Hischier was expected to be the heir apparent to Patrice Bergeron for the Selke Trophy. It makes sense since Bergeron retired and Hischier finished second last season. Unfortunately, that didn’t work. Some thought that Luke Hughes could beat out Connor Bedard for the Calder Trophy. 

Then, there’s Jack Hughes. He was a fun pick for many in terms of the Hart Trophy for league MVP. However, it was much more popular to choose Hughes for the Lady Byng Trophy

He was a popular choice for a reason. Two seasons ago, Hughes had literally zero penalty minutes. He went an entire season without a penalty despite playing at a high level. That’s pretty ridiculous for a player who is somewhat aggressive. He plays away from puck and prioritizes cutting off passing lanes, so that definitely helps, but it’s still insane to go an entire season without penalties.

Last season, Hughes did have three minor penalties on the season, but they were all literally minor. He finished second in Lady Byng voting, losing the award to Los Angeles Kings star Anze Kopitar. The veteran tends to get the love for these things. 

So this season, finishing second in the voting means Hughes just had to repeat his season and he would add to his trophy case. Then, we saw something different. There was a different attitude to Hughes, who was much more vocal on the ice, let referees know his thoughts if they didn’t get a call right, became known for talking smack to his opponents, and he even took a few unnecessary penalties. 

Jack Hughes still got votes for the Lady Byng Trophy, but two New Jersey Devils teammates did even better.

The coup de grâce was when Hughes told Viktor Arvidsson of the Kings that “people watch me play.” That type of attitude doesn’t always work well for the Lady Byng. 

Even with all that, Hughes still received votes for the 2024 Lady Byng Trophy. One voter even gave him a second-place vote. He finished with 18 points, 35th in the league in terms of gentlemanly conduct.

Two teammates actually finished better than Hughes, and one finished in the top ten. Devils captain Nico Hischier finished 12th in the league, accepting six third-place votes and a second-place vote. However, it was Jesper Bratt who got a lot of the love from the league, finishing with 36 total votes, including two second-place votes and 11 third-place votes. 

Hughes likely doesn’t mind being out of this race, as his new attitude might lead to more teammates following his lead. If that leads to wins on the ice, that’s all he will care about in the long run.