It would have been more of a shock if he was not nominated.
The Bruins alternate captain has made himself synonymous with the award given to the league’s top defensive forward, winning it the past two seasons in 2014 and 2015, as well as in 2012. He finished second in the balloting in 2013.
The three finalists for June’s NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas were announced by the NHL on Thursday night. Bergeron joins Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler and the LA Kings’ Anze Kopitar, who has been a fellow finalist the past two seasons.
“Being named a finalist for the Selke Trophy is a tremendous honor and one I am very grateful for,” Bergeron said in a team press release. “While it is an individual award, my teammates and coaches deserve a lot of credit as well.”
“Ryan and Anze are two elite players who both had great seasons and it is a privilege to be a finalist alongside them. Thanks to all of those who voted and I look forward to the NHL Awards Show on June 22.”
Ballots for the Frank J. Selke Trophy were submitted at the end of the regular season by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
Those who watch Bergeron all season long are never surprised by his consistency, at both ends of the ice.
“Patrice is a pretty special player that everybody should be pleased that they have an opportunity to watch play,” Bruins President Cam Neely recently said during his season wrap-up press conference. “I certainly enjoy the way he plays, his commitment, his dedication. Everything about him is what we want a Bruin to be.”
The centerman led the Bruins in 2015-16 with 68 points and set a new career-high in goals with 32. It marked his third 30-goal season, and second in the past three seasons. The Bruins were 18-5-2 when he scored a goal.
Sixteen of his 32 goals gave the Black & Gold a lead in a game and three of them tied it up. He opened the scoring eight times.
With his 607th point on Mar. 5, he moved into sole possession of eighth place on the team’s all-time scoring list, passing Milt Schmidt (575), Peter McNab (587), Cam Neely (590) and Terry O’Reilly (606) along the way. He finished the season at 618 career points.
Bergeron serves as Claude Julien’s go-to centerman for faceoffs, especially in the defensive zone.
In 2015-16, he took 1,978 faceoffs — the most of any player in the NHL.
He has led the league in total faceoff wins the past two seasons, racking up 1,175 in 2014-15 and setting a new career high with 1,130 wins in 2015-16. He’s been on top of that category for four of the past five years (excluding the 2012-13 lockout season).
A staple on the penalty kill in addition to the power play (where he scored 12 goals), Bergeron led Bruins forwards in shorthanded ice time in 2015-16 (175:46) and had three shorthanded points (goal, two assists). He also doled out 77 hits, recorded 56 blocked shots and 67 takeaways, 12 of which came on the PK.
His teammates enjoy playing with him (just ask his left winger Brad Marchand). He’s always in the right spot. He’s an expert at reading the play. He could be considered a third defenseman when he’s on the ice.
If Bergeron takes home his fourth Selke award in June, he’ll tie Hall of Famer and former Montreal Canadiens forward Bob Gainey for the most times winning the award. Gainey was the first player to receive the Selke, and was given the honor for four straight years from 1977-81.
After 13 seasons in Black & Gold, Bergeron isn’t slowing down anytime soon. He’ll turn just 31 years old in July.
“It’s crazy just to think about that,” Bergeron said after winning the Selke in 2015, of possibly passing Gainey one day. “I have tremendous respect for Mr. Gainey and it would be something very special.”
Only five players have ever won the award three times: Bergeron, Gainey, Pavel Datsyuk, Jere Lehtinen and Guy Carbonneau.
Bergeron has become a staple at NHL events the past few seasons, representing the Bruins at the All-Star Game in 2015 and 2016, and gracing the cover of EA Sports NHL in 2015, in addition to his yearly appearance at the awards show.
While the individual awards are well-deserved, there’s no question that he would much rather garner honors with his teammates.
“It’s pretty special to be now a part of it and humbling at the same time,” Bergeron said last June. “Winning the awards or not, I wouldn’t change the way that I play the game and I would keep doing the same things in order to try to help my team.”