Last Wednesday the finalists for the NHL Selke Trophy were announced and with little surprise, Patrice Bergeron was one of the three finalists. Bergeron has won the award four times and received votes for the award every year since the 2009-2010 season. Winning the award this year could cement Bergeron as the best two-way forward in NHL history, as he is now tied with Canadiens great Bob Gainey for four Selke Trophies. The Selke Trophy is given to the forward who excels in the defensive aspects of the game. Winning it this year will not be easy as the other finalists, Anze Kopitar and Sean Courturier, are having career years. All three have a strong case, but Bergeron’s is unique.
Why He Shouldn’t Win
This year Bergeron may have his weakest case to win. Due to a fractured foot, Bergeron missed a month of the season. That is a significant number of games missed as the LA Kings Anze Kopitar only missed three games, and the Flyers Sean Courturier suited up for all 82. Bergeron finished fifth in faceoff percentage, an area in which he usually ranks higher. He saw an increase in offensive zone usage and along with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, formed one of the top lines in the NHL. That offensive dominance is reflected in his stats since he recorded 63 points in merely 64 games. Despite all this, there are still many reasons why Bergeron would be deserving.
Why He Should Win the Selke
Despite the injury, Bergeron still managed to finished in the top five in some essential categories. He had a +21 rating, which was his highest since the 2013-2014 season when he played in 80 games. Even though his face off ranking was low, compared to years past it was still impressive. He ranked higher than both his competitors and was first in shorthanded face-offs. His impact on the ice was obvious as the Bruins struggled during the month of his injury. Bergeron’s line was exceptional defensively as they didn’t give up an even strength goal until January. Despite missing 18 games, Bergeron still had a very good season and has a real shot at winning the award for the fifth time. But his competitors also have a good case.
The main reason that Bergeron may not win his fifth Selke is his health. His numbers as usual were above average, but he was limited in time compared to the other finalists. Bergeron averages 80 games a season and, had he played that many, his statistics would have been different. This makes his case more compelling as what he did in shortened time was impressive. Courturier had a remarkable season offensively and posted a plus rating of 34, thirteen points higher than Bergeron. Kopitar lead all NHL forwards in overall time on ice and was part of the league’s best penalty kill unit. All of these finalists have their own case on why they should take home the award. The debates will continue as the winner won’t be announced till June, and it could end up being very close.