The NHL has announced another regular season award winner, this time naming Aleksander Barkov the recipient of the Frank J. Selke Trophy for the 2020-21 season, his first time winning the award. The Selke Trophy is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association and is awarded to the forward deemed to “best excel in the defensive aspects of the game.” Patrice Bergeron came in second and Mark Stone was third.
Barkov, 25, has received Selke votes in each of the previous six seasons, but never finished higher than fourth in the final tally. This year he tops a titan in Bergeron, who is tied for the most career wins with four and Stone, who has now been a finalist twice in the past three seasons even without playing the center ice position. He received 62 of the 100 first-place votes and was listed on 92 ballots, which rank five players. 78 writers had him listed first or second, showing just how well respected his defensive capabilities are around the league.
There’s no question that Barkov is one of the most effective two-way players in the NHL, and his 58-point performance only helped him cement his status as a superstar. That was only his second season scoring at a better than point-per-game rate, but when combined with his defensive prowess it makes for an incredibly valuable player. He also becomes just the fifth player in NHL history that has won both the Selke and the Lady Byng, joining Pavel Datsyuk, Ron Francis, Anze Kopitar, and Ryan O’Reilly.
There were 28 other players that received votes for the Selke trophy. The top-five was rounded out by Joel Eriksson Ek and O’Reilly, the 2019 winner. Philip Danault (6th), Jean-Gabriel Pageau (16th) and Anthony Cirelli (20th) are the other players who received votes and are still alive in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.