The NHL has announced Patrice Bergeron, Ryan Kesler and Mikko Koivu as the Selke Trophy nominees for the 2016-2017 season. The league will award the best defensive forward as part of the 2017 NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 21.
Boston Bruins forward Bergeron is a three-time Selke winner and a six-time Selke finalist. In 2016-2017, he led the NHL in SAT or Corsi percentage with 61.10 among players to skate in at least 40 games. He was third in faceoff percentage and first in overall faceoff wins, plus he registered 302 shots on goal and had a total of 53 points in 79 games.
If Bergeron wins the Selke again, he’ll tie Bob Gainey as a four-time winner of the award.
32-year-old Kesler won the Selke Trophy in 2011 as a member of the Vancouver Canucks. Now, as a member of the Anaheim Ducks, he becomes a five-time finalist. He was third in Selke voting in 2016.
Kesler was third overall in faceoff wins, third among all forwards in ice time per game and sixth overall in faceoff percentage. He put up 58 points, good for second on the Ducks. While his faceoff percentage was actually better overall last season, his boost in ice time evens things out and he could snag some votes based on how instrumental he’s been on the Ducks.
But Kesler’s Corsi numbers aren’t in Bergeron’s neighbourhood.
Koivu, a first-time finalist for the Selke Trophy, put up career-high totals in plus-minus and blocked shots for the Minnesota Wild. He had 58 points, good for third on the team, and posted a faceoff win percentage of 55.2.
Still, Kesler and Bergeron have better possession numbers than Koivu and he could be a tough sell – especially if his Wild are shown an early playoff exit by the St. Louis Blues.
Right now, the Selke Trophy looks like Bergeron’s to lose. He had a stellar year and could leap into the history books with his fourth win, asserting his dominance as one of the NHL’s best-ever defensive forwards.