Welcome to Last Word on Hockey’s 2022 award prediction series. As the regular season wraps up and the playoffs begin, we’ll be taking a look at potential nominees and winners for the major NHL awards. The 2022 NHL Awards will be a one-hour show between Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, hosted by the same city that will host those games.
2022 Selke Award Predictions
The Frank J. Selke award, otherwise known as the Selke award, is an annual award given “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspect of the game,” per the NHL. This award was first given after the 1977-1978 season and was the fifth and last major award added. The award is voted on by the members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
Last year, Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov, took home the Selke award. Barkov finished the 2020-2021 season with 26 goals, 58 points, and a +12. The season was shortened due to COVID protocols, so the Panthers center only played in 50 games to put up those points. The point-per-game player also had a face-off win percentage of 54.9. Of the 100 possible votes, Barkov received an overwhelming 62 votes.
Calgary Flames center, Elias Lindholm, is having himself a year, along with the rest of his team, who finished first in the Pacific Division. Not only did he beat his career-high goals (40) and points (82), but he also has the second-highest +/- rating in the NHL at 61. The only person who is above him is teammate Johnny Gaudreau at +64. The highest +/- rating in a Selke winner was +49 by Sergei Fedorov who won the award in the 1995-1996 season. In addition to being on one of the NHL’s hottest lines, he is also making a difference on defence for his team.
Lindholm, a 27-year-old forward, has a shots on net percentage of 76.1% and has a goals per 60 minutes of 1.5. He is having a fairly physical season with 66 hits recorded and has blocked 52 shots. He has one of the lowest on-ice G/60 out of the Selke contenders at 2.6. And his face-off win percentage sits at 52.89%. Although he has 41 giveaways for the season, he makes up for them by recording 55 takeaways. Lindholm’s defensive point shares of DPS is the highest of the contenders at 3.9. The defensive point shares is an estimate of the number of points contributed b a player due to his defence.
Florida Panthers captain and reigning Selke award winner is in the conversation again this year. With 39 goals and 88 points in just 67 games played, he is well over a point-per-game player again this year. Barkov sits at a +36 and has a G/60 of 1.7. His offensive ability helped his team win first place in the Atlantic Division, but also in securing this year’s President’s Trophy. The captain’s face-off percentage for this season is 56.95%, which is a career-high for him.
Barkov, a 26-year-old forward, has 50 hits this season and 30 blocks recorded. He not only helps defensively on the penalty kill but helps offensively with four short-handed goals. He has 21 power-play goals against that he was on the ice for. Additionally, his goals against per 60 minutes sits at 2.35. Barkov’s giveaways are 51, and his takeaways are 59. He also has a DPS of 2.3. He still flies under the radar in terms of how good he is defensively, despite winning the Selke just a year ago.
Tampa Bay Lightning, Anthony Cirelli, has been in the midst of the Selke talks as well. Although he may not win this year, he will definitely be a real contender in the years to come. The Back-to-back Stanley Cup champion has 17 goals and 43 points in 76 games played. His +/- is at +15 and his G/60 is at 0.7. He also has a face-off percentage of 46.52%. Despite the lack of offensive production, his defensive ability has helped lead his team to secure third place in the Atlantic Division.
Cirelli, a 24-year-old forward, finished top 20 in the league for takeaways with 60. While that might sound impressive, his puck-handling skills are more impressive. He only gave the puck away 13 times this season. He plays a notably physical game with 75 hits and 67 blocked shots. Cirelli’s goals against per 60 minutes is 1.96 and his DPS is 2.0. If he can continue to play a stellar defensive game and start producing more offensively, he will find himself back in the Selke conversations.
Winner: Patrice Bergeron
Boston Bruins, Patrice Bergeron, is no stranger to the Selke award. The star forward is tied for the most Selke wins at 4. Bob Gainey being the only other player to win the award four times, won it four years in a row. The Bruins captain won in 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2017. This season he recorded 25 goals and 65 points in 73 games played. His +/- rating is a +26 and his face-off percentage sits at 61.9%, which is one of the highest in the league. His high danger attempts is 68.98% which is the highest in the league.
Bergeron, the 36-year-old center, is in the 99th percentile for forwards shutting down their competition. His goals against per 60 minutes is the lowest of all the previously mentioned contenders at 1.6. He also has the highest amount of hits with 78 hits, as well as 45 blocked shots recorded this season. The veteran had 37 takeaways and 21 giveaways this season. He contributed on the penalty kill by only allowing 14 power-play goals while he was on the ice. Bergeron’s DPS is 2.7. He is expected to win this year’s Selke by a landslide and rightfully so. The captain is in the final year of his contract with the Bruins, though he has not indicated either way what he will do.