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Selke: Bergeron is our wire-to-wire winner

Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 11:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

By Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Selke: Bergeron is our wire-to-wire winner
While NHL.com's picks for the various awards mostly changed as each quarter of the season passed, Patrice Bergeron of the Bruins remains the choice for Selke Trophy as best defensive forward.

No other award on NHL.com has had the same projected winner from start to finish this season, but being atop the Selke trophy tracker for a fourth time is a testament to how good Patrice Bergeron (and his young linemates) has been this season.

There are plenty of awards with several candidates to win and the voting could be tight. Bergeron might very well be the most clear-cut deserved winner, though Evgeni Malkin could claim the Hart Trophy by a wider margin.

2011-12 NHL TROPHY TRACKER

With the final week of the regular season upon us, NHL.com takes a look at which players from around the League are on track to be considered for some of hockey's most storied awards.
WINNER

Patrice Bergeron, Bruins -- Bergeron has been incredible at both ends of the ice this season, and his line has dominated at even strength. He leads the League in on-ice plus/minus per 60 minutes at even strength among forwards with at least 60 games played according to Behind The Net. He's been on the ice for 64 Boston goals at even strength and only 33 against, despite playing against strong competition.

He's also been strong on the penalty kill, is tied for the League lead in faceoff proficiency at 59.5 percent and is tied for 15th among forwards with 66 blocked shots. Linemates Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchard deserve some credit as well, but Bergeron deserves to give a speech in Las Vegas.

FINALISTS

Pavel Datsyuk, Red Wings -- Datsyuk did miss 12 games, but his defensive numbers and impact in Detroit are still enough to earn him a spot in the final three. He's in the top 15 in on-ice plus/minus per 60 minutes at even strength, while also checking in among the top 20 in Behind The Net's Quality of Competition rating.

He's also eighth in the faceoff circle at 56.9 percent, and while the standard for takeaways can vary from arena to arena, Datsyuk is only seven behind NHL leader Ryan O'Reilly with 90 despite the missed time. Plus, he's Pavel Datsyuk -- he's one of the few forwards that even casual fans can pick up on his defensive brilliance.

David Backes, Blues -- Backes was a bit of a late-charger for this award, but he could very well end up with a trip to Las Vegas. The Blues have been incredible as a team at preventing goals all season, so it should come as no surprise that St. Louis places five forwards among the top 16 in goals against per 60 minutes at even strength.

What separates Backes is that he's faced the toughest quality of competition of any forward in the NHL, being on the ice for 50 goals for and only 32 against at even strength. That is pretty remarkable, even if the Blues' style and goaltending are working in concert to help everyone's numbers. He also adds a physical element that other top candidates for the Selke don't with 220 hits.

Quote of the Day

I think Loui Eriksson is a player that can be even better than he was last year. I think we started seeing that at the end of the year, and he could be a replacement for Jarome as a possibility.

— Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien on forward Loui Eriksson's potential