The NHL announced Wednesday Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, Ryan Kesler of the Anaheim Ducks, and Mikko Koivu of the Minnesota Wild are the finalists for the 2016-17 Frank J. Selke Trophy, which is awarded to “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.” And by that, it means ‘best two-way center.’
The award is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
So, who will pick up the hardware at the T-Mobile Center in Las Vegas on June 21?
Why Patrice Bergeron Deserves The Selke
From the NHL:
Bergeron was the NHL’s busiest player in the face-off circle for third consecutive season, leading the League with 1,812 draws and 1,089 wins. His face-off win percentage of 60.1% ranked third in the NHL. Bergeron also ranked first overall in the team puck possession metric SAT (shot attempts differential), as the Bruins registered 439 more shot attempts than they allowed when Bergeron was on the ice while each team had five skaters per side. The three-time Selke winner is a finalist for the sixth consecutive year, matching the streak of Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk (2008 through 2013) as the longest since the award was introduced in 1978.
The sky is blue. Water is wet. Patrice Bergeron is nominated for the Selke. It’s a given ever. Single. Season.
In 5-on-5 score and venue adjusted Corsi, Bergeron leads the league at 61.71 percent. He also led the NHL in CorsiRel at 8.93 percent; improving upon his second overall mark a season prior (8.31%). Bergeron finished fourth on the Bruins in scoring with 53 points in 79 games played.
Why Ryan Kesler Deserves The Selke
From the NHL:
Kesler ranked third in the NHL with a career-high 1,029 face-off wins and posted the sixth-best win percentage (57.4%). Among forwards, he led the NHL in shifts/game (27.5), was third in average ice time per game (21:18), fourth in average shorthanded time (2:43) and sixth in blocked shots (75). In the defensive zone, Kesler topped the NHL in total face-offs (773) and face-off wins (429). Kesler is a Selke finalist for the second consecutive season and for the fifth time overall. He finished third in 2016 with Anaheim and was a finalist in each season from 2009 through 2011 with Vancouver, capturing the award in 2011.
The Ducks were a better puck possession team with Kesler on the ice this season. In score adjusted 5-on-5, he finished the year with 3.03 RelCF% as compared to his 0.8 percent a year prior. Kesler ended the season second on Anaheim in scoring with 22 goals, 58 points. He continues to be generally a jerk to play against.
Why Mikko Koivu Deserves The Selke
From the NHL:
Koivu tied for third place among NHL forwards in plus-minus with a career-high +27, the second-best rating ever recorded by a Wild forward. He ranked fifth in the NHL in face-off wins (938) and was sixth in face-offs taken (1,699) for a winning percentage of 55.2%. Koivu set a career high in blocked shots (65) and led all Wild forwards in average ice time per game (19:06) and average shorthanded time (1:49). The Minnesota captain also became the franchise’s all-time leader in shorthanded points (10-12–22) on March 16. Koivu is a first-time NHL Awards finalist and the second in franchise history for the Selke Trophy, following a third-place finish by Wes Walz in 2003.
Bruce Boudreau likes to a have two-headed monster at center. Koivu was one of the two heads this season; Eric Staal was the other. Koivu led the Wild with a 64.2 percent success rate on the faceoff dot when the Wild were on the power play and 55.3 percent win rate at even strength.
Who Wins The Selke
Patrice Bergeron. We’re reaching ‘rename the award after him once he retires’ territory…as long as he doesn’t spurn the NHL and go to Russia.
Our Ballot (in alphabetical order)
Mikael Backlund, Calgary Flames
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Ryan Kesler, Anaheim Ducks
Mikko Koivu, Minnesota Wild
John Tavares, New York Islanders
Who Should Win The Selke
Bergeron. The guy is a beast when it comes to puck possession, and he’s a big reason why the Bruins led the NHL in 5-on-5 Corsi-for during the regular season. Kesler and Koivu both fit their roles for their respective teams, but don’t make nearly as huge of an impact on the possession side as Bergeron does.