Centres Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings, Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks are the three finalists for the 2010-11 Frank Selke Trophy, which is awarded "to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game," the National Hockey League announced today.
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Selke Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 22, during the 2011 NHL Awards from the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel Las Vegas. The 2011 NHL Awards will be broadcast by VERSUS in the United States and CBC in Canada.
Following are the finalists for the Selke Trophy, in alphabetical order:
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
A master at getting and keeping the puck, Datsyuk ranked 11th in the League in takeaways with 71 despite being limited to 56 games due to injury. Datsyuk tied for second on the Red Wings in plus-minus with a +11 rating and was the club's top face-off man, posting a 54.6% winning percentage (429 of 785) -- his seventh consecutive season posting a win rate above 53%. Datsyuk could become the first player to win the Selke Trophy for four consecutive seasons since Bob Gainey of the Montreal Canadiens won it the first four seasons it was presented, from 1978 through 1981.
Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks
Kesler helped the Canucks record the lowest team goals-against average in the NHL (2.20) for the first time in franchise history. He ranked fourth among NHL forwards in blocked shots (80), appeared in all 82 games and averaged a career-high 20:29 in ice time to lead all Vancouver forwards. The speedy center ranked sixth among NHL centers in face-offs taken (1,496), winning a team-best and career-high 57.4% of them (859), dished out 124 hits; recorded a team-high 65 takeaways and posted a +24 rating. Kesler is a Selke Trophy finalist for the third consecutive year, finishing second in 2010 and third in 2009.
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Toews led all Chicago forwards in plus-minus and ranked second on the club overall with a career-high +25 rating. He took 1,653 face-offs, second in the NHL behind Carolina's Eric Staal (1,751), and won a League-leading 937 of them (56.7%). He recorded 95 takeaways, also second in the NHL behind San Jose's Joe Thornton (114), delivered 74 hits and blocked 28 shots. The Blackhawks captain, who turns 23 on Friday, is a first-time Selke finalist and a second-time NHL trophy finalist -- he finished third in Calder Trophy voting for the League's top rookie in 2008.
The trophy was presented in 1977 by the National Hockey League Board of Governors in honor of Frank J. Selke, one of the great architects of Montreal and Toronto championship teams.
Tickets to the 2011 NHL Awards are on sale via Ticketmaster.com at nhl.com/awardstickets and at the Pearl Concert Theater Box Office.