The Lady Byng is presented annually "to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability."
The winner is selected in a poll by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association at the end of the regular season.
The finalists are no strangers to the Lady Byng. Datsyuk has won each the last four seasons, Richards has been a winner and a runner-up, and St. Louis has placed second in polling each of the last three seasons.
The winner of the trophy will be announced at the 2010 NHL Awards, to be held in Las Vegas on June 23. The ceremony will be broadcast live from the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel Las Vegas on VERSUS in the United States and CBC in Canada.
Here is a closer look at the finalists.
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
C - DETROIT
+/-: 17 | PIM: 18 | PP: 9
Datsyuk finished 27th in the NHL scoring race with 70 points (27 goals, 43 assists) in 80 games, leading the Red Wings in scoring for the sixth-consecutive season, the longest streak in franchise history.
Also a finalist for the 2009-10 Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL's most outstanding defensive forward, an award Datsyuk has won each of the last two seasons, he was first in the League in takeaways with 132, was 21st among all NHL forwards with a plus-17, and was whistled for only nine minor penalties totaling 18 minutes while averaging 20:20 of ice time per game.
After Datsyuk was called for hooking in a game on Oct. 3, he went a season-high 31 consecutive games without an infraction. His single-game high was four minutes (interference and tripping) on Jan. 7.
Brad Richards, Dallas Stars
C - DALLAS
+/-: -12 | PIM: 14 | PP: 13
Richards was second in the NHL with 40 power-play points (13 goals, 27 assists), fourth in assists, and 10th in shots on goal (284) while averaging 20:51 of ice time per game.
Richards posted a season-best eight-game point streak from Oct. 22-Nov. 7, totaling 11 points (3-8), and 15 of his 24 goals either tied the game or broken a tie.
After drawing a minor penalty for slashing in the season-opening game on Oct. 3, Richards went 30 games before his next infraction on Dec. 17. Only once was he assessed more than two penalty minutes in one calendar month.
Richards won the Lady Byng playing for Tampa Bay in 2003-04, and was runner-up in 2005-06 to Datsyuk.
Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
MARTIN ST. LOUIS
RW - TAMPA BAY
+/-: -8 | PIM: 12 | PP: 7
St. Louis led the Lightning and finished fifth in the NHL with a career-high 65 assists, was tied for third in the League with 7 game-winning goals, ranked first in the NHL in power-play assists with 30. He recorded his seventh-straight season with at least 25 goals, placed third among all NHL forwards with 21:48 of ice time per game, and was first on Tampa Bay with 62 takeaways.
St. Louis posted two 11-game point streaks in 2009-10, the first of which was marked by 15 total points through the first eleven games of the season, breaking the franchise record of seven games to start a season.
He closed the 2009-10 season with the NHL's fourth-longest active consecutive games played streak at 390.
St. Louis opened the season with 15-straight contests without a penalty before being called for hooking on Nov. 12. He closed the year with 18 consecutive games without a penalty. St. Louis had 4 penalty minutes in November and was called for one infraction in four other calendar months.
St. Louis was the Lady Byng runner-up in 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09.
Contact Rocky Bonanno at email@example.com