The Frank J. Selke Trophy is given to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.
The NHL will be announcing their annual awards Wednesday night in Las Vegas, and while most of the attention will be on the expansion draft and the major award winners (Norris, Hart & Vezina), fans in Boston have reason to tune in. For the 6th consecutive year, consummate Bruin Patrice Bergeron has been named a finalist for the Selke Trophy, alongside former winner Ryan Kesler (ANA) and first time finalist Mikko Koivu (MIN). The award is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA) following the regular season.
3rd Place - Mikko Koivu:
Mikko is a well rounded and respected veteran, but his inclusion among the finalists feels slightly more like a lifetime achievement nod, than as a deserving nominee. The only major categories that he led were +/- and Sh% (Shooting % by team when on ice). He finished third in ten of the sixteen statistics, often times distantly so. None of this is to say he isn’t an excellent two way forward, because he is and has been remarkably consistent throughout his long career. However, he clearly lags behind both Kesler and Bergeron in almost every meaningful category.
2nd Place - Ryan Kesler:
Kesler easily could have won his 2nd Selke in 2016-17, if only he didn’t play in the same era as Bergeron. Make no mistake, Ryan Kesler, for all his antics and unfavorable public persona is one of the best two way forwards to have ever played the game. By playing in the Western Conference, he routinely faces some of the best centers in the game, regularly shutting down skilled players like McDavid and Scheifele. He is highly respected by teammates and opponents alike for his tenacious back checking and night to night all out efforts. Unfortunately, Kesler’s career overlaps advanced stat darling Bergeron, who will likely retire as the greatest two way forward to have ever played the game. In comparing their numbers, Kesler was actually fairly close to Bergeron, most notably leading in overall TOI, SHTOI (by a wide margin), and coming close in face off wins, face offs taken and CorsiFor. He placed third in 4 categories (+/-, SH Takeaways, ShotsAgainst & PIM by a huge margin).
1st Place - Patrice Bergeron:
The Boston Bruins present:— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) June 19, 2017
Bergeron for Selke: Volume VI pic.twitter.com/Ly0dJmXKfx
At this point what can be said about Bergeron that hasn’t already been covered in great detail. He is a hockey warrior, and by most accounts the closest thing to a “perfect” hockey player you will find. His game has no real holes, he can score, back check, and pass and is a vocal leader both on the ice and in the locker room. He has gained the respect of the most elite players, and has rightfully been included alongside them as one of the very best in the game. As fans and teams alike learn how important his two way style is to winning games, his notoriety will only continue to grow.
When the data shown earlier is sorted by a simple color coding, you can see just how dominant Bergeron is, even against other elite two way pivots. The fact that Bergeron played at this level while suffering from a sports hernia all season is nothing short of remarkable, even for a player of his stature.
With a win on Wednesday, Bergeron would join Hall of Fame Canadien Bob Gainey as the only other player to win 4 Selke trophies. Considering he arguably should have won over Kopitar last season, combined with his relatively young age (31), it is worth wondering if he will retire as the all time leader in both Selke nominations and wins. Regardless, it is clear that once again, Bergeron is the definition of a two way, elite forward.
Who should win 2017 Selke Trophy
This poll is closed
Bergeron but Kesler wins