Just moments after releasing the Norris finalists, the NHL moved on to another award, this time announcing the three nominees for the Frank J. Selke Trophy. The award is given out the forward who “demonstrates the most skill in the defensive component of the game.”
It starts with the reigning Selke winner, who happened to also take home the Conn Smythe trophy as he led the Blues to their first Stanley Cup. O’Reilly is also up for the Lady Byng again this year, and part of his defensive prowess relies on that incredible ability to stay out of the penalty box. He averaged more than two minutes of short-handed ice time this season and was once again a lock-down presence in the middle of the ice. O’Reilly also took home the faceoff crown again this season, winning more draws than any other player in the league—even if his percentage wasn’t quite as high as his two fellow finalists.
That percentage crown went to Couturier, who won 59.7% of his draws, more than any other player with even 50 faceoffs taken. The Flyers star has taken over as the heartbeat of his team and becomes a finalist for the second time in three years. There’s no one who doubts Couturier’s ability to shut down opposing players, but he’s going up against two previous winners that both have incredible reputations and Stanley Cup performances to their names. That will make it all the sweeter if he does take it home, but even if he doesn’t you can expect the name Couturier to be part of this group for years to come.
Bergeron is king in these parts, already winning the award four times and being a finalist on four other occasions. In fact, he has finished in the top-5 for Selke voting in each of the past ten years, making him quite the opponent for the younger O’Reilly and Couturier. Bergeron once again was among the league-leaders in faceoff percentage and managed to crack the 30-goal mark for the third straight season. Should he take home the award again he would become the all-time leader, breaking the current tie with Bob Gainey at four.