Datsyuk, Bergeron, Toews are the Selke nominees

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The NHL has announced that the battle for the Frank J. Selke Trophy has come down to Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk, Boston’s Patrice Bergeron, and Chicago’s Jonathan Toews.

The award recognizes the NHL’s top defensive forward.

Datsyuk won the award three consecutive years between 2008-10, but his streak was broken in 2010–11 when he was limited to 56 games. To date only one player, Bob Gainey, has won the four times, but Datsyuk has put forward a strong case this year. Datsyuk averaged 20:10 minutes per game and finished with a plus-21 rating.

Although plus/minus doesn’t usually hold a lot of weight, keep in mind that only two other Red Wings players had plus/minus ratings in the positive double-digits and neither approached his total. If you want to dive into advanced stats, Datsyuk skated against 19th-toughest competition in the league among forwards that participated in at least 30 contests. None of forwards ahead of him on that list did any better than a plus-seven rating.

Datsyuk also tied fellow nominee Toews for the league-lead in takeaways with 56.

Bergeron won the Selke Trophy for the first time last year. He led the Bruins with a plus-24 rating and was second among Boston forwards with an averaged 2:12 shorthanded minutes per contest. Boston ranked fourth in the NHL with a 87.1 penalty-killing percentage.

He came up big on the draw when the Bruins were down a man, but faceoffs in general are his bread-and-butter. He led the league with a dominating 62.1 faceoff percentage.

Toews, from a statistical perspective was sort of a mesh between Bergeron and Datsyuk. Toews takeaway numbers were already touched on, but he also ranked second in the NHL with a 59.9 faceoff percentage. He also finished third in the NHL with a plus-28 rating, but what was more impressive was his plus-21 rating on the road. That’s the best any has done since 2009-10.

Toews is also the only player among the finalists to finish the season with a plus/minus ratio over 20 and at least 20 goals.