The National Hockey League announced that it has named Philadelphia Flyers center and captain Mike Richards as a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy. The league presents the award annually to the “forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.” Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings and Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks are the other two finalists for the trophy, which will be presented at the 2009 NHL Awards on June 18 in Las Vegas.
“It's pretty cool,” said Richards. “I've never been nominated for anything or ever won anything like that. It's a pretty neat honor."
Richards, 24, was the winner of the Bobby Clarke Trophy as the Flyers most valuable player for the second consecutive season, as selected by a panel of sportscasters and sportswriters. He led the team in assists (50) and power-play points (33); and finished second in points (80) and plus/minus (+22). He finished tied for third in goals (30) and led all forwards in average time on ice (21:44). He set new career highs in a single season in points (80), goals (30) and assists (50).
Richards led the NHL in shorthanded goals (7, tying a Flyers franchise record) and shorthanded points (9), and his 3-on-5 shorthanded goal at the New York Rangers on Feb. 15 made him the first player in NHL history to score three career goals with his team down two men.
He recorded shorthanded goals in three consecutive games (Feb. 15-21), becoming the first player since Joe Sakic (Colorado, Oct. 15-24, 1998) to accomplish that feat.
Richards was named as the 17th captain in Flyers history on September 17, 2008.
The Flyers have had two Selke Trophy winners in their history: Bobby Clarke in 1982-83, and Dave Poulin in 1986-87.