For the 9th straight season, Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron was named a finalist for the Selke Trophy as best defensive forward, building on his NHL record. Bergeron joined Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier and St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly, who won the award last season. The Selke Trophy is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association and given to the forward who “demonstrates the most skill in the defensive component of the game.”
The Bruins center set an NHL record last season with this eighth straight Selke nod, the most consecutive nominations for any player in history. The four-time Selke winner is now seeking another record: With a fifth win, Bergeron would pass Bob Gainey for most Selke trophies in league history.
As usual, the Selke nominations went to players proficient at both ends of the rink. Bergeron had a 57.8 faceoff winning percentage as well as 56 points in 61 games as the Bruins’ top line center. He had a better expected goals per 60 minutes (1.86) than either of the other nominees. Couturier won 59.7 percent of his faceoffs and had 59 points in 69 games for the Flyers. His line scored 76 percent of the goals while on the ice at 5-on-5. O’Reilly had 61 points in 71 games, and won 56.6 percent of his faceoffs.
Among the players who didn’t make the cut for the Selke despite strong seasons: Anthony Cirelli of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Valeri Nichushkin of the Colorado Avalanche and Mark Stone of the Vegas Golden Knights.
The NHL also announced the finalists for the Norris Trophy for the league’s top defenseman, also voted on by the PHWA. As expected, John Carlson of the Washington Capitals and Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators were nominated, having been the frontrunners for the award all season. They were joined by Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who won the award in 2018 and is the first Norris Trophy finalist in four consecutive seasons since Nicklas Lidstrom with the Detroit Red Wings.
Carlson had one of the best offensive seasons for a defenseman in decades, despite the NHL season being paused on March 12. He had 75 points in 69 games to lead all defensemen, which was 10 more than Josi. Carlson’s 1.09 points per game average is the highest for any defenseman since 1994.
Josi had an outstanding 65 points in 69 games, playing 1:09 more per game on average than Carlson and skating to a plus-22. Hedman had 55 points in 66 games. He was fourth among defensemen in goals scored above average (18.1), better than Josi (12.4) or Carlson (7.6).
Among the defensemen that didn’t make the cut but were Norris Trophy contenders: Alex Pietrangelo of the St. Louis Blues and Jaccob Slavin of the Carolina Hurricanes.