The Ducks announced today that center Ryan Kesler has been named a finalist for the 2016-17 Frank J. Selke Trophy, which is awarded "to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game." 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 (also Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins and Mikko Koivu of the Minnesota Wild). The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 21, during the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
A five-time Selke finalist, Kesler joins Patrice Bergeron (6) and Pavel Datsyuk (7) as the only players to be named a finalist for the award on five separate occasions since 2006. Kesler previously won the award as a member of the Vancouver Canucks during the 2010-11 NHL season.
Kesler appeared in his third season with Anaheim in 2016-17, scoring 22-36=58 points with a +8 rating and 83 penalty minutes (PIM) in 82 games. In addition to recording his highest point total since he won the Selke in 2010-11, Kesler's career-high 1,029 faceoff wins ranked third in the NHL, while his 57.4 faceoff percentage ranked sixth. Among NHL forwards, he led in shifts per game (27.5), ranked third in total time on ice per game (TOI, 21:18) and fourth in the NHL overall in shorthanded TOI (221:39). In the defensive zone, Kesler led the NHL in faceoff wins (429) and took the most 5-on-5 faceoffs in the defensive zone (547). He also ranked sixth in the NHL in blocked shots among forwards (75). The 6-2, 202-pound center won more faceoffs (170 more) and posted a higher overall number in TOI (21:18 to 20:29) compared to his 2010-11 Selke-winning season.
Primarily facing the NHL's top centers head-to-head this season, Kesler was named to the 2016-17 NHL All-Star Game, his second career appearance (also 2010-11). Acquired from Vancouver with a third-round selection in the 2015 NHL Draft in exchange for Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa and first-round and third-round selections in the 2014 NHL Draft on June 27, 2014, Kesler is the second Duck to be named a finalist for the Selke Trophy, joining center Samuel Pahlsson in 2006-07.