Florida Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov was awarded his first Frank J. Selke Trophy on Friday evening. Mark Stone from the Golden Knights and Patrice Bergeron from the Bruins were the other finalists, as voted on by select members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
The award goes to “the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.”
The Panthers captain had never been named a finalist for the Selke before this season, but had been a three-time finalist for the Lady Byng, which he ultimately won in 2018-19. He joins four other players — Pavel Datsyuk, Ron Francis, Anze Kopitar, and Ryan O’Reilly — as the only players to win the Selke and Lady Byng in their careers.
Barkov recorded 26 goals and 32 assists in the 2020-21 season and led the Panthers in time on ice per game with 20:56. He also recorded a 54.9 faceoff winning percentage, the highest of his career.
The Panthers registered their lowest team goals-against figure (2.70) since 2015-16, and Barkov’s defensive skill was a part of it. He was a key part of the penalty kill with an average of 1:26 of time per game, and he had 39 takeaways, 37 blocked shots over the course of the season.
The voting from the 100 PHWA members selected to vote was as follows, with 10-time finalist Bergeron coming in second, and two-time finalist Stone in third. Bergeron’s 15 first-place votes were the next most after the overwhelming 62 for Barkov.
Bergeron is a four-time winner and has had a record 10 consecutive appearances as a finalist for the award.
Minnesota’s Joel Eriksson-Ek garnered six first-place votes, while the Blues’ Ryan O'Reilly and Boston’s Brad Marchand received two. Others to receive first-place votes were Jean-Gabrieal Pageau from the Islanders, Marcus Foligno from the Wild, Philip Danault from the Canadiens and Jordan Staal from the Hurricanes.
2021 NHL Award finalists:
Vezina Trophy: Marc-Andre Fleury, Philipp Grubauer, Andrei Vasilevskiy
Ted Lindsay Award: Sidney Crosby, Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid
Calder Memorial Trophy: Kirill Kaprizov, Alex Nedeljkovic, Jason Robertson
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Auston Matthews, Jaccob Slavin, Jared Spurgeon
Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award: Renee Hess, Kevin Hodgson, Howard Smith
Norris Trophy: Adam Fox, Victor Hedman, Cale Makar
Hart Trophy: Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, Nathan MacKinnon