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Previewing The 2016 NHL Awards Show

The Frank J. Selke Trophy

Awarded to the best defensive forward in the league. This year’s candidates are:

Patrice Bergeron

Bergeron has won the award the last two seasons (and three of the last four). He’s looking to become the first player to three-peat since Pavel Datsyuk and is one behind Bob Gainey for the most all-time.

Bergeron had a career high in takeaways with 67 (55, and 48 in his other winning campaigns) and he also improved his plus-minus by 10 this year.

All these stats are even more impressive to see that about 3% less of his shifts started in the defensive zone.

Anze Kopitar

Kopitar has been a finalist for the award the last two seasons. The big Slovenian is an elite forward both offensively (74 points in 15-16) and defensively.

Kopitar improved big time in the shot blocking department this season. He blocked 20 more shots than the previous season, blocking a career high 65 shots.

He also had more takeaways, forcing 43 takeaways to 27 the year before. But the stat that stands out the most is his plus-minus.

Kopitar improved his plus-minus by an astounding 36 points, tying a career high of 34.

Ryan Kesler

Ryan Kesler has proven on more than one occasion that he is a top defensive forward in the NHL as he is constantly being lined up against the top center men in the league and facing the likes of Crosby, Tavares, Seguin, Toews, Backstrom, etc.

Kesler won the award in 2011-12 but has yet to finish as high as fifth since 2012-13. That however,  is about to change.

Kesler blocked a career high 92 shots (12 more than his winning campaign). He also consistently bruises the opposition’s top players- he had 168 hits this season.

Although he only forced eight less takeaways than the year before, Kesler improved his plus-minus by 10 this season.

The Verdict: Patrice Bergeron

All of the candidates make great cases and are deserving of their nominations. But Bergeron is in his prime playing his best hockey and will win this year’s award.

People ask me what I do in the summer when there's no hockey, I tell you what I do, I still talk about hockey.