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Frank J. Selke Trophy

Barkov, Bergeron, Stone named Selke Trophy finalists

Panthers, Bruins centers, Golden Knights wing up for award given to best defensive forward

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer

2020-21 Selke Trophy Finalists

Frank J. Selke Trophy Finalists announced

Aleksander Barkov, Patrice Bergeron and Mark Stone have been named finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy

  • 02:50 •

Aleksander Barkov, Patrice Bergeron and Mark Stone are finalists for the Selke Trophy.

The award is given annually to the forward voted best to excel in the defensive aspects of the game in the NHL as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. The winner will be announced as part of the 2021 NHL Awards presented by Bridgestone during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals between the Vegas Golden Knights and Montreal Canadiens (8 p.m. ET; USA, CBC, SN, TVAS).

Barkov ranked first among Florida Panthers forwards in takeaways (39) and average time on ice per game (20:56), second in blocked shots (37) behind Noel Acciari (63) and averaged 1:26 of shorthanded ice time per game. The center finished 15th in the NHL in face-off percentage (54.9, minimum 650 attempts) and took the 10th most faceoffs (1,026), winning the eighth most (563). 

Barkov, who scored 58 points (26 goals, 32 assists) in 55 games, helped the Panthers (37-14-5) finish second in the Discover Central Division and qualify for the postseason. He led all Florida skaters in SAT percentage (minimum 15 games played), with Florida taking 58.6 percent of all shot attempts when he was on the ice at 5-on-5. A first-time finalist, Barkov would be the first Panthers player to win the award.

Bergeron, who is trying to win the award for a record fifth time, ranked first in face-off percentage (62.5, minimum, 650 attempts). It was the 10th highest percentage among players to take at least that many face-offs since the stat was first tracked in 1997-98. The center ranked first in face-offs won (714), fifth in face-offs taken (1,147) and third in defensive face-off percentage (59.6 percent). Bergeron ranked first among Bruins forwards in blocked shots (36) and shorthanded ice time (97:48) and second in takeaways (35) behind Brad Marchand (42).

"I think it's a compliment to my teammates, to be honest with you, the way that we're able to do that together," Bergeron said. "I think it goes with how we've performed as a team and how my teammates have helped me throughout the year, and that's it. I think you want to grow. You want to keep getting better. You want to push yourself. ... It's an honor to be alongside those two guys as well. Two great players that play the game the right way and kudos to them. I love the way they play, a great style of hockey."

Bergeron, who scored 48 points (23 goals, 25 assists) in 54 games, helped the Bruins (33-16-7) finish third in the MassMutual East Division and qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Boston tied for the fourth-fewest goals allowed per game (2.39) in the NHL. Bergeron ranked first among Bruins forwards in SAT percentage (62.5, minimum 20 games played). A finalist for a record 10th consecutive season, Bergeron finished second last season and last won the Selke Trophy in 2016-17.

"It's good people are continuing to pay attention because [Bergeron] deserves it," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Sunday. "Certainly, he emulates what that award is all about and did it again this year. There's a couple of good candidates as well he's up against, so that's always a tough call for the people deciding, but I'm glad to see him get his just due and good luck to him. Obviously, I'm biased, but I feel he should be the winner. ... To be able to keep playing that way on both sides of the puck is kind of a testament to not only his physical ability but his mental toughness to do it every night."

Stone led the NHL in takeaways (58) for the fifth time in his seven full NHL seasons; he finished second last season. He led Vegas Golden Knights forwards in ice time per game (19:04) and was third in shorthanded ice time (74:12). The right wing helped Vegas (40-14-2) to the most wins in the NHL, tie for the most points (82, Colorado Avalanche) and to qualify for the playoffs for the fourth straight season. Vegas won the Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals (124, 2.21 per game).

"It's cool to be put in a category with those guys," Stone said. "You can't be a great player if you're not on a great team, and I firmly believe that. We have a great forward group, a great D corps and awesome goaltending that creates a great team environment. That allows everybody to kind of perform throughout the system."

Stone, who led the Golden Knights with 61 points (21 goals, 40 assists), is a two-time finalist, finishing as runner-up in 2018-19. He would be the first wing to win the award since Jere Lehtinen with the Dallas Stars in 2002-03 and the first Golden Knights player to win.

"Just an honest 200-foot hockey player," Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer said about Stone. "He always makes the right decision with defensive responsibility in mind and he does it without it affecting his ability to create offense. It's a rare gift. Sometimes you get guys who are great defensively, but they do it at the expense of offense, and sometimes you get those offensive players who are great offensively but do it at the expense of defense. He's one of those guys that just makes those decisions properly every single time to maximize both offense and defense. They're a rare breed and he belongs in that group and he should win it, in my mind."

Sean Couturier of the Philadelphia Flyers won the award last season. staff writers Tom Gulitti and Mike Zeisberger and independent correspondent Danny Webster contributed to this report

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