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NHL Awards staff picks: Selke Trophy

Experts split on Kopitar, Bergeron for award given to best defensive forward; Kesler also a finalist @NHLdotcom

The 2016 NHL Awards will take place at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on June 22, and staffers will be providing their selections for the winners.

The Selke Trophy is awarded "to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game." The finalists for the 2015-16 season are Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings, Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins and Ryan Kesler of the Anaheim Ducks.

Here are's staff picks for the Selke Trophy:

Amalie Benjamin, Staff Writer

Patrice Bergeron: It's three straight for Bergeron, who won the award in 2014 and 2015. The fancy stats support Bergeron, plus he spent (quite a lot of) time backchecking in the NHL All-Star Game, which practically should guarantee a win.

Brian Compton, Deputy Managing Editor

Anze Kopitar: Kopitar was the best two-way player in the League this season. Not only did he have 74 points in 81 games, he averaged nearly 21 minutes of ice time per game, finished second in the League with a plus-34 rating and won 53.5 percent of his faceoffs. 

Video: NYR@LAK: Kopitar tips OT winner past Lundqvist

Nicholas J. Cotsonika, Columnist

Anze Kopitar: Playing against the elite centers in the Western Conference, he put up excellent possession numbers for an excellent possession team. Having the puck is the best defense.

Tom Gulitti, Staff Writer 

Anze Kopitar: After being a runner-up to Bergeron each of the past two seasons, it's Kopitar's turn to win. He ranked third in the League among forwards in shot attempts differential (332), led all forwards in ice time with 1,690:12 and ranked second in plus/minus at plus-34.

Adam Kimelman, Deputy Managing Editor 

Patrice Bergeron: Bergeron started 55.09 percent of his shifts outside the offensive zone but was a plus-237 in 5-on-5 shot attempts for the Bruins, who had a differential of minus-66. He also won 57.1 percent of his faceoffs and was a plus-12 in 19:50 of ice time per game on a team that had a plus-6 goal differential.

Video: BOS@TOR: Bergeron ties the game with a PPG

Mike G. Morreale, Staff Writer 

Patrice Bergeron: He led the League in faceoffs taken (1,978) and won 57.1 percent. He won 389 defensive-zone faceoffs, averaged 19:50 of ice time and had 68 points in 80 games. 

Shawn P. Roarke, Director of Editorial 

Patrice Bergeron: He already has won the Selke three times in the past four seasons, and should make it four times in five seasons. There may not be a better defensive forward in his generation. This season, Bergeron's Corsi (shot attempts differential at even strength) was 56 percent and he started 54 percent of his shifts in the defensive zone. He was also Boston's top penalty killer and won 57.1 percent of his faceoffs.

Dan Rosen, Senior Writer 

Patrice Bergeron: Not only did Bergeron finish with 68 points, ninth among centers, he won 57.1 percent of his faceoffs and had a 55.81 shot attempts percentage (SAT) despite having the second most defensive zone faceoffs among centers in the League (465). Boston averaged 8.4 percent more shot attempts per game with him on the ice than without him.

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