Bergeron, Couturier and O’Reilly Voted 2020 Selke Trophy Finalists
Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier and St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly are the three finalists for the 2019-20 Frank J. Selke Trophy, awarded “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.”
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Selke Trophy after the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be revealed during the Conference Finals, with the exact date, format and time to be determined.
The Frank J. Selke Trophy was presented in 1977 by the NHL’s Board of Governors in honor of Frank J. Selke, one of the great architects of Montreal’s and Toronto’s championship teams.
Following are the finalists for the Selke Trophy, in alphabetical order:
Patrice Bergeron, C, Boston Bruins
Bergeron (31-25—56 in 61 GP) helped the Bruins allow a League-low 174 goals en route to finishing atop the overall NHL standings for the 14th time in franchise history (and first time since 2013-14). He led Boston forwards in shifts per game (22.9), playing an average of 18:44 – including 1:43 on the penalty kill – while finishing 15th in the NHL in plus/minus (+23). Bergeron also ranked among the top 10 in the League in face-off wins (5th; 759) and face-off winning percentage (6th; 57.9%), the 11th consecutive season he has eclipsed the 56-percent plateau. The 34-year-old Ancienne-Lorette, Que., native is a Selke Trophy finalist for a record ninth straight season, extending his own mark in that category. Bergeron’s four Selke wins (2011-12, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2016-17) are tied for the most in NHL history with Bob Gainey, who captured the trophy each of the first four years it was awarded (1978-81 w/ MTL).
Sean Couturier, C, Philadelphia Flyers
Couturier (22-37—59 in 69 GP) paced the NHL by winning 59.6 percent of his face-offs (542-for-909). Only one player in Flyers history has recorded a higher single-season total (since the statistic began being tracked in 1997-98, minimum: 500 FO): Eric Lindros in both 1997-98 (60.1%) and 1998-99 (60.0%). Couturier was consistent throughout the ice, winning 59.5 percent of his face-offs in the defensive zone, 60.4 percent in the neutral zone and 59.1 percent in the offensive zone – no other NHL player topped 58 percent in all three zones. Couturier also led all Philadelphia skaters with a +21 rating while pacing team forwards in both total time on ice (1,368:23) and shorthanded time on ice (140:29). The 27-year-old – who finished second in Selke Trophy voting in 2017-18 – is vying to become the third player to win the award with the Flyers, following Bobby Clarke (1982-83) and Dave Poulin (1986-87).
Ryan O’Reilly, C, St. Louis Blues
O’Reilly (12-49—61 in 71 GP) – the reigning Selke Trophy winner – led the NHL in face-off victories (880) for the third consecutive season, making him the third player to achieve that feat since the statistic was introduced in 1997-98 (joining Bergeron: 4x from 2014-17 and Rod Brind’Amour: 3x from 2004-07). O’Reilly also topped the League in percentage of team face-offs taken (38.7%) while ranking 10th in face-off winning percentage (56.6%), the fifth straight season he has cleared the 55-percent mark. O’Reilly, who last week was named a Lady Byng Memorial Trophy finalist, finished seventh in the League with 69 takeaways while only taking five minor penalties in 1,460:45 of total playing time, 10th among NHL forwards. The 29-year-old Clinton, Ont., native is seeking to become the first repeat Selke Trophy winner since Bergeron took home the award in both 2013-14 and 2014-15.