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NHL Awards

Selke Trophy winner to be announced before Game 3 of West Final

Bergeron, Couturier, O'Reilly in running for award given to best defensive forward

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer

2019-20 Selke Trophy Finalists

Selke Trophy Finalists announced

Ryan O'Reilly, Patrice Bergeron and Sean Couturier have been named finalists for the Selke Trophy

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Winners of the 2020 NHL Awards presented by Las Vegas will be announced throughout the 2020 conference finals and 2020 Stanley Cup Final.

The winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy, awarded annually to the forward voted as the best to excel in the defensive aspects of the game, will be announced Thursday by NBCSN, Sportsnet and TVA Sports during the pregame show for Game 3 of the Western Conference Final between the Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars. The game starts at 8 p.m.

Here is a look at the three finalists, who were named July 20.

Patrice Bergeron, Sean Couturier and Ryan O'Reilly are the finalists for the Selke Trophy. 

The award is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Voting was completed before the start of the postseason.

Bergeron, who is trying to win the award for a record fifth time, ranked fourth in face-off winning percentage (57.9 percent; minimum 750 attempts) and third in defensive-zone face-off winning percentage (58.4 percent) before the season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. He was tied with Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres for seventh in face-offs taken (1,311), was fifth in face-offs won (759), and was first among Boston Bruins forwards in blocked shots (46) and second with 1:43 of shorthanded ice time per game behind Joakim Nordstrom (1:56).


[RELATED: Frank J. Selke Trophy winners]


"It's always a great recognition, obviously," Bergeron said. "You have to also realize you keep in mind that it is a team sport. I wouldn't be here without the help of all my teammates. It's the same thing every year. It's one of those things where you can't accomplish that on your own. I've been fortunate enough to play on great teams, great lines, and been coached by great coaches. That has helped me tremendously over the years."

The center, who scored 56 points (31 goals, 25 assists), was plus-23, and averaged 18:44 of ice time in 61 games, helped the Bruins allow the fewest goals in the NHL (167; 2.39 per game) and win the Presidents' Trophy with the best record in the League (44-14-12, .714 points percentage). He ranked second among Bruins forwards in shot attempts percentage (minimum 10 games played), with Boston taking 56.0 percent of all shot attempts when he was on the ice at 5-on-5. A Selke finalist for a record ninth consecutive season, Bergeron finished third last season and has not won it since 2016-17.

The Bruins reached the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where they lost were defeated in five games by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Couturier is a finalist for the second time after finishing as the runner-up to Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings in 2017-18. He led the NHL in face-off winning percentage (59.6 percent) and finished third in defensive-zone face-off winning percentage (59.5 percent) among players to take at least 500 face-offs. He ranked first among Flyers forwards in ice time per game (19:50) and total shorthanded ice time (140:29), and led all Flyers skaters with an SAT percentage of 56.1 percent.

"It's nice to be honored and recognized by the media," Couturier said. "It reflects on the year that the team had as well. I try to pay attention to details and do the right things all the time, be on the right side of the puck and reliable in all aspects of the game. I try to take pride in that."

The center scored 59 points (22 goals, 37 assists) and was plus-21 in 69 games, helping the Flyers (41-21-7, .645) earn a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where they were defeated by the New York Islanders in seven games in the Eastern Conference Second Round. Couturier would be the third Flyers player to win the award and first since Dave Poulin in 1986-87.

"I hate to use that [phrase], a perfect player, but it's the closest thing that you'll find," Flyers assistant coach Ian Laperriere said. "There's no cheat in his game. And what is great about Coots (Couturier) is he's a great example for young guys like (forward Morgan) Frost and (forward Joel) Farabee to just to look at him and see what he does, on and off the ice. He's one of our leaders for a reason."

O'Reilly won the award last season and is a finalist for the second time. He led the NHL in face-off wins for the third straight season (880) and was first in face-offs taken (1,556). He finished seventh in face-off winning percentage (56.6 percent, minimum 750 face-offs) and took the most defensive-zone face-offs (593).

The center scored 61 points (12 goals, 49 assists), was plus-11, and averaged 20:34 of ice time per game, most among Blues forwards, in 71 games. His average of 2:09 of shorthanded ice time per game was second among Blues forwards, as were his SAT percentage of 52.8 percent (minimum 15 games) and his 42 blocked shots.

O'Reilly was named a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy on July 16. The award, voted on by the PHWA, is given annually to the NHL player who best combines sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct and ability.

The Blues, who finished with the best record in the Western Conference (42-19-10, .662), were defeated by the Vancouver Canucks in six games in the Western Conference First Round. 

The 2020 NHL Awards were scheduled for June 18 in Las Vegas but were postponed March 25.

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