Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks have been named the finalists for the 2013 Frank J. Selke Trophy.
The award is given annually "to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game."
Bergeron, 27, earned 106 of 148 first-place votes to win last year's award. This year, he posted a team-best plus-24 rating, which was sixth-best in the League. He was third on the Bruins with 23 takeaways, was second among Bruins forwards in shorthanded ice time per game at 2:12 for a unit that ranked fourth in the League, and he won a League-high 62.1-percent of his faceoffs, including 73 of 119 shorthanded (61.3 percent).
According to BehindtheNet.ca's advanced statistics, Bergeron started just 42.4 percent of his shifts in the offensive end, second-fewest among Bruins forwards, but 47.2 percent ended in the offensive zone, showing how good he was in transition. And Bruins goalies had a .949 save percentage when he was on the ice, as compared to .923 for the season.
Bergeron and Steve Kasper (1982) are the only Bruins to win the Selke. He also would become the sixth-ever to win it in consecutive years, joining Datsyuk (2008-10), Rod Brind'Amour (2006-07), Jere Lehtinen (1998-99), Guy Carbonneau (1988-89) and Bob Gainey (1978-81).
Datsyuk, 34, was a point-per-game scorer while managing a plus-21 rating, and he accomplished it all by averaging 20:10 in ice time per game, the most he's played since the 2009-10 season. He tied for the League lead with 56 takeaways, and his 30 blocked shots were second among Red Wings forwards.
According to BehindtheNet.ca's stats, Datsyuk had a Corsi quality of competition rating of 1.340, second on the team and 19th among all NHL forwards to play at least 30 games, meaning he faced the 19th-toughest competition; of the 18 forwards rated ahead of him, the player with the next-best plus/minus was Josh Bailey of the New York Islanders at plus-7.
A win for Datsyuk would give him four Selke trophies, tied with Gainey for most ever.
Toews, 25, was a runner-up to Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks in 2011. This season, the Blackhawks captain was one of four players to lead his team in goals (23, tied with teammate Patrick Kane) and plus/minus (plus-28). He was the only one in the group to break 20 in both categories.
Toews was third among the team's forwards in shorthanded ice time at 1:25 per game, and was second among the team's forwards in average ice time at 19:20 per game. He tied Datsyuk for the League lead with 56 takeaways, and not only was his plus-28 third in the League, his plus-21 on the road was a League high -- and the best road plus/minus since 2009-10. He also finished second to Bergeron in faceoff winning percentage at 59.9 percent. He was tied for second in faceoffs won (559), despite finishing seventh in total faceoffs taken (933).
If Toews wins, he would join Dirk Graham (1991) and Troy Murray (1986) as Blackhawks to win the Selke.