There are lots of familiar names in this year’s Selke Trophy candidate pool and no surprises, honestly. Nominations for this trophy have always seemingly played favorites, alas the contenders are all too worthy of consideration. Let’s take a look at the names on the ballot for best defensive scoring forward across the league along with a couple names I feel should at least get some attention. Though the named candidates more than deserve it, these unconsidered players should at least get a nod for their efforts.
The perennial contender for the Selke hardware finds himself in the running for the seventh time in a row and nobody should be perplexed. The master of two-way play, Bergeron posted 30 goals and 33 assists in an injury shortened 64-game campaign. Despite his well-known defensive prowess, 2017-18 saw the Ancienne-Lorette native starting his shifts in the offensive zone 61% of the time! This career high starting percentage helps explain his very impressive 3.0 PTS/60 as part of the arguably best offensive line in the NHL with David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand. Bergeron paced the league in CF% at 57.56 (minimum 600 games played), was sixth in face-off win percentage (57.3%), and sported his highest PDO since 2013-14 at 1023. In a nutshell, the man was as good as ever and has not shown signs of slowing down at age 32. Next season will be his age-33 campaign but fantasy managers need not fear him getting older as the ship has shown no cracks in its hull. Bergeron should be attainable at a decent draft price but do not reach for him early when you can get other’s whom pot more points overall. If in need of shots, Bergeron is a very healthy source as this past season saw him average 3.5 per game.
Anyone who has followed Couturier’s career has been waiting for the junior hockey scoring touch he possessed in his final two seasons with the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the QMJHL to translate at the NHL level. Though the time taken to ascend to the 70-point plateau was longer than expected, year seven was the coming out party for the Phoenix, Arizona product. Much benefited by the move to left wing for star Claude Giroux, Couturier posted 31 goals and 45 assists with a plus-34 while averaging over 21 minutes per game. Couturier only saw offensive zone starts 43% of the time speaking to his defensive acumen yet posted the highest PDO of his career (1033) and PTS/60 (2.6). Though much of his career marks can be credited to Giroux’s monstrous season, Couturier certainly elevated his game in 2017-18. As the pieces continue to fall into place for the Flyers with their impressive youth, especially on defense, look for Couturier to become the focal point in Philadelphia as Giroux exits his prime. Couturier became more of a trigger man almost doubling his shot totals from last season with 225 this time around. Do not reach for Couturier in drafts despite the great season as he’s been nothing more than a 35-40 point player until this point. Giroux plays a maj