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Patrice Bergeron named Selke Trophy finalist for 6th straight season

04.19.17 at 7:33 pm ET
Patrice Bergeron is once a Selke Trophy finalist. (Dennis Wierzbicki/USA Today Sports)

Patrice Bergeron is once again a Selke Trophy finalist. (Dennis Wierzbicki/USA Today Sports)

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Bruins center Patrice Bergeron is once again a finalist for the Selke Trophy, which is given to the top defensive forward in the NHL. The other finalists are Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler and Minnesota Wild center Mikko Koivu.

It’s the sixth straight year Bergeron has been one of the three finalists, and he’ll be looking for his fourth win. He last won it in 2015 and probably should’ve won last year as well, but voters apparently got bored of giving it to him and went for Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar instead.

Kesler is also a former Selke winner, as he took home the hardware back in 2011 as a member of the Vancouver Canucks. Koivu is a first-time finalist, although he did finish tied for fourth in voting back in 2009.

The case for Bergeron is pretty straightforward: He led the NHL in both Corsi-for percentage (61.8 percent) and relative Corsi-for percentage (plus-9.7 percent). He tilted the ice in his team’s favor more than any other player in the NHL and therefore kept the puck out of his own zone better than anyone else.

That should be enough to win it, but if you wanted to make the case for Kesler or Koivu, it would be that they dealt with tougher usage in terms of zone starts and still had a positive impact on their team’s possession numbers.

Whereas Bergeron had an offensive zone start percentage of 54.7 percent, Kesler and Koivu were at 33.4 percent and 36.2 percent, respectively. They had a relative Corsi of plus-2.0 percent and plus-0.8 percent, respectively.

The most notable omissions are probably Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund and Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri, who similarly got tough usage and still managed to swing positive numbers. Backlund clocks in at 36.3 percent offensive zone starts and a very impressive plus-6.2 percent relative Corsi, while Kadri’s at 37.4 percent and plus-1.4 percent.

Personally, I think Backlund had the best case against Bergeron this year. But as it is, Bergeron looks like a pretty easy favorite.



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