NHL Announces Selke Trophy Finalists

The NHL has announced its Selke Trophy finalists for the 2020-21 season. Aleksander Barkov (Florida Panthers), Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins), and Mark Stone (Vegas Golden Knights) are the three chosen forwards.

Barkov, Bergeron, Stone Announced the Selke Trophy Finalists

Interestingly, all three nominees are the captains of their respective teams. Stone is the only winger of the three forwards.

Aleksander Barkov

In his eight years with the Panthers, Barkov has consistently been one of their best players. Putting up 58 points in 50 games this season, and attempting over 260 shots, he’s an offensive machine. He was first on the team in goals, and second in both assists and points during the regular season. During their first round against the Tampa Bay Lightning, he put up seven points in six games, second-best on his team. He’s also on the ice for a forward-leading 21 minutes per game (on average). It’s obvious head coach Joel Quenneville has a lot of faith in him to produce points.

But the Selke is all about the two-way play, a place Barkov excels. A team-leading 563 faceoff wins, he’s excellent at the dot. He’s called upon to take important draws in both the offensive and defensive zone throughout the game. Standing at 6’3″, 213 pounds, he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty in corner battles. Constantly working hard in all three zones, and hustling hard on the backcheck, it’s clear why Barkov was nominated for this trophy.

Patrice Bergeron

Bergeron is the definition of an elite two-way forward. He’s been a Selke Trophy finalist for 10 years straight, winning four out of six years from 2011-12 to 2016-17. It’s no secret he’s one of Boston’s best players, as his play speaks for itself.

As part of the “perfection line” with David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand, Bergeron puts up fantastic numbers. Scoring 23 goals and dishing out 25 assists for 48 points in 54 games, he’s top five on the team in all three categories. Like Barkov, he’s incredible at the faceoff dot, winning over 62% of his draws this season. In both the offensive and defensive zone, Bergeron displays his skill set. Countless times his stick is in the right position to block a passing or shooting lane, forcing the opponent to change their mind. His advanced numbers are also off the charts. With a 62.5% Corsi For and an 11.2 Relative Corsi this season, he was near the top in both of those categories.

Even if he doesn’t win this year, Bergeron must always be considered for this trophy. His presence in all three zones is obvious and impactful, helping the Bruins win games.

Mark Stone

This season has been one of Stone’s best, if not his outright best. His second appearance as one of the Selke Trophy finalists, Stone is looking to win his first. In 55 games, Stone put up 61 points, the best on his team by 10 points. In addition to having the most assists and second-most goals, Stone led all forwards in average time on ice. Vegas controlled the puck more often with their captain on the ice, leading to more goals and more wins.

A physical player, Stone is willing to fight for loose pucks in all three zones. More often than not, he will go for 50/50 pucks and come out with control. He’s also incredibly energetic and hustles everywhere he skates. Fitting right in with the style the Golden Knights love to play, Stone is a clear choice for a Selke Trophy finalist.

Predicting the Winner

This trophy is extremely difficult to predict, as all three finalists show incredible skill. I believe this trophy will be handed to Aleksander Barkov. He was a huge reason why Florida was a two seed in the Central Division and showed incredible determination in their first round series. Barkov is the perfect balance of incredible offence and shut-down defence.

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