It’s awards season! The NHL has begun to roll out the nominees for the 2018-19 awards beginning with the Selke Trophy, which is awarded “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.”
The nominees, who are voted for by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association at the conclusion of the regular season, are Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, Ryan O'Reilly of the St. Louis Blues, and Mark Stone of the Vegas Golden Knights.
The trophy was first presented in 1977 by the NHL Board of Governors in honor of Frank J. Selke, one of the architects of Montreal and Toronto Stanley Cup winning teams.
The winner will be announced on June 19 (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN) at the 2019 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.
The Case For Patrice Bergeron: The four-time winner of the trophy, Bergeron finished the regular season with 32 goals and 79 points. He was eighth overall in face-off win percentage (56.6%), the 10th straight season he’s had a success rate in the dot of at least 56%. He also posted a 56.77% Corsi rating, the eighth consecutive season he’s reached at least the 55% mark in the category. This is his eighth straight year as a finalist and one more win will see him pass Bob Gainey for most Selke wins ever.
The Case For Ryan O’Reilly: Leading the Blues with 77 points, including 23 goals, O’Reilly enjoyed his first season with in St. Louis. He was once again strong in the face-off circle with a 56.9% success rate, posted a 53.44 Corsi %, his best since the 2013 NHL season, and had a 2.82 Corsi relative percentage. The Blues had a 93.39% on-ice save percentage when O’Reilly was out there at even strength and his 42.53 expected goals against percentage led the team’s forwards.
The Case For Mark Stone: A win here for the Golden Knights forward would bring a bit of history. The last Selke winner who wasn’t a center was Jere Lehtinen, who took home the award in 2002-03 while a member of the Dallas Stars. Stone was one of two players to have over 100 takeaways (122) this season, leading the NHL in that category. He posted a 52.99% Corsi rating and was third among all forwards with at least 800 5-on-5 minutes with an 8.16 Corsi relative percentage.