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Couturier of Flyers wins Selke Trophy as best defensive forward

Center led NHL in face-off percentage, helped Philadelphia earn playoff berth

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer

Couturier wins Selke Trophy

Sean Couturier awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy

Sean Couturier of the Philadelphia Flyers wins the Frank J. Selke Trophy for the first time in his career, in recognition of his two-way game

  • 01:23 •

Sean Couturier of the Philadelphia Flyers won the Selke Trophy as the top defensive forward in the NHL on Thursday.

"It obviously means a lot. It's great award, it's a great honor," Couturier said. "I've always taken pride in playing a solid 200-foot game, so to be recognized by people around the League, it's really ... I don't know how to describe it. It's a great honor."

Couturier led the NHL in face-off winning percentage (59.6 percent, minimum 750 attempts) and was second in defensive-zone face-off winning percentage (59.5 percent). He was first among Flyers forwards in ice time per game (19:50) and total shorthanded ice time (140:29), and led Philadelphia skaters with an SAT percentage of 56.1 percent.

The center scored 59 points (22 goals, 37 assists) and was plus-21 in 69 regular-season games, helping the Flyers (41-21-7, .645 points percentage) earn a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Philadelphia, which finished the round-robin portion of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers as the No. 1 seed in the East, lost to the New York Islanders in seven games in the Eastern Conference Second Round.

"I think I was nominated or I had a few votes earlier in my career for this award," Couturier said. "Obviously over the years it became more of a two-way player award where you needed to put up some offensive numbers. Luckily for me I got the chance to play with some great players over the last few years and it really helped take my game to another level. Without them and without the organization and the coaches throughout the years that believed in me and never really gave up on me, I wouldn't be having the success I am right now."


[RELATED: NHL Frank J. Selke Trophy Winners]


Couturier, who was the runner-up to Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings in 2017-18, is the third Flyers player to win the Selke and first since Dave Poulin in 1986-87. Bobby Clarke won it in 1982-83.

Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins and Ryan O'Reilly of the St. Louis Blues were the other finalists for the award, voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

"Ever since I came up in the League, guys like Bergeron, Kopitar, [Jonathan] Toews, Jordan Staal, those are all guys that were really tough to play against and really reliable defensively and also offensively. Those are kind of the guys that I tried to model my game after," Couturier said. "It's one thing to produce offensively, but if you want to be out on the ice when you're up a goal late in the game, you've got to learn to be responsible defensively, and it's always something I've tried to take pride in. Over the last few years I've kind of taken my offensive side of the game to another level. Just to be mentioned and nominated with those guys this year and in the past, it's a great honor."

A nine-time finalist and four-time Selke winner, Bergeron was fourth in face-off winning percentage (57.9 percent; minimum 750 attempts) and third in defensive-zone face-off winning percentage (58.4 percent).

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

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

2020 Selke Trophy voting 

Points (1st-2nd-3rd) 

1. Sean Couturier, PHI 1424 (117-27-8-7-4)

2. Patrice Bergeron, BOS 884 (21-56-40-24-10)

3. Ryan O'Reilly, STL 816 (11-47-53-33-13)

4. Anthony Cirelli, TBL 612 (13-23-34-44-19)

5. Mark Stone, VGK 210 (2-8-10-19-27)

6. Phillip Danault, MTL 175 (1-1-13-18-39)

7. Anze Kopitar, LAK 33 (0-0-2-4-11)

8. Valeri Nichushkin, COL 32 (0-1-2-4-3)

9. Brad Marchand, BOS 24 (1-1-0-1-4)

10. Brayden Point, TBL 24 (1-0-1-3-0)

11. Aleksander Barkov, FLA 21 (0-0-0-5-6)

12. Nick Bonino, NSH 17 (1-1-0-0-0)

13. Jean-Gabriel Pageau, NYI 17 (0-0-2-1-4)

14. Jordan Staal, CAR 16 (0-2-0-0-2)

15. Jonathan Toews, CHI 14 (0-0-1-3-0)

16. Auston Matthews, TOR 12 (1-0-0-0-2)

16. Artemi Panarin, NYR 12 (1-0-0-0-2)

18. Brandon Tanev, PIT 11 (0-0-2-0-1)

19. Noel Acciari, FLA 7 (0-1-0-0-0)

19. Claude Giroux, PHI 7 (0-1-0-0-0)

19. J.T. Miller, VAN 7 (0-1-0-0-0)

22. Blake Coleman, TBL 6 (0-0-1-0-1)

23. Nick Foligno, CBJ 6 (0-0-0-0-6)

24. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, EDM 5 (0-0-1-0-0)

25. Zach Aston-Reese, PIT 4 (0-0-0-1-1)

26. Mikael Backlund, CGY 3 (0-0-0-1-0)

26. Teddy Blueger, PIT 3 (0-0-0-1-0)

26. Nathan MacKinnon, COL 3 (0-0-0-1-0)

29. Teuvo Teravainen, CAR 3 (0-0-0-0-3)

30. Sebastian Aho, CAR 2 (0-0-0-0-2)

30. Evgeni Malkin, PIT 2 (0-0-0-0-2)

30. Mika Zibanejad, NYR 2 (0-0-0-0-2)

33. Nicklas Backstrom, WSH 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

33. Leon Draisaitl, EDM 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

33.  Luke Glendening, DET 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

33.  Gabriel Landeskog, COL 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

33.  Elias Lindholm, CGY 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

33.  Mitchell Marner, TOR 1 (0-0-0-0-1) deputy managing editor Adam Kimelman contributed to this report

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