Three days into our Year-End awards and we’re finally getting to the forwards. But even though we’re finally making our way to the other side of the blueline, we’ll still be checking out some defensive play. No—it’s not that we have an unhealthy affection for forwards that go both ways, thankyouverymuch. Ladies and gentlemen (and loyal readers of VFMS), we present to you the nominees for the 2010 Selke Trophy for best defensive forward.
One of the major reasons we went with this award was, similar to the newly-created Norstrom Award, this is one that is difficult to award solely looking at stats. It forced the bloggers to take into account the play that they witnessed on the ice as much as any numbers that we can find in a box score. Any time we can force them to use their expertise, we will.
Predictably, we have Pavel Datsyuk winning his 79287343 straight Selke Awards—by a large margin, at that. Challenging Datsyuk are four players who are 25 or younger, and possess enough skill to scare opponents with their offensive ability. Put that kind of player out there on the penalty kill and you’re looking at more than a few short-handed goals scored among this group.
Here’s how bloggers around the NHL saw the Selke race this year. Feel free to let us know if you think we got it right!
|Name||Total Points||1st Place Votes||Total Votes|
“Hmm… Mr. Hudini is a lock. But what do I know?”
–Dmitry Chesnokov, Puck Daddy
“The absolute hardest award to determine the most deserving. You can’t look at single stats to see who is a leader here, you need to dissect so many aspects: plus / minus, Short Handed offensive capabilities, defensive capabilities, faceoff capabilities. Usually the Selke is handed out to a big name who is recognizable… But it’s much harder to determine in the end.”
–John Fontana, Raw Charge
“Patrick Marleau was stripped of the captaincy before the season started. What does he do? He goes out and leads his team ON the ice. The guy led the high-powered Sharks in plus/minus with a plus-22 rating, was a point-per-game producer for only the third time in his career, posted his career high in shots (274) and was fourth in the league in goals (44). He’s always been a strong two-way player but this season, he did it amidst the humiliation of having his C stripped from his chest.”
–Jeremy K Gover, Section 303
“The homer pick of the year. Mikko Koivu is the best two way player in the game. Apologies to the guys listed below him, and to the fans in Detroit, but Koivu hauls an entire team around on his shoulders and still manages to hold Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby to a combined 1 SOG in games against the Wild this season.”
–Bryan Reynolds, Hockey Wilderness
“Can I vote for Datsyuk for all five positions?”
–Chris Hollis, Motown Wings
“Come on, no one gets more defensive whenever diving or Alex Ovechkin comes up than Crosby.”
“This one goes to Datsyuk no question. Led the league in takeaways and scares the crap out of just about everybody. Hossa makes the list because the guy is an absolute force on the backcheck. He plays textbook two-way hockey, and it’s starting to rub off on his teammates for sure.”
–Ryan Hackett, Hackett’s Blog
“Datsyuk is still one of the best defensive forwards in the game, but Richards, in my estimation, elevated his game in this area. More grit and sandpaper than Datsyuk, but very effective.”
–Mark Willoughby, The View From 111
“Datsyuk and Zetterberg are tough and we see them 6 times a year. I had to give Legwand a vote since he can’t score.”
–Buddy Oakes, Preds On The Glass
“You can’t go wrong with either of these five picks. Having said that, this was Kesler’s breakout yet as a elite defensive forward in the NHL.
And Backstrom’s defensive play is completely underrated. He’s already one of the top five center’s in the game. People say Ovechkin makes him look good, but if you look closely, Ovechkin benefits from him just as much (or maybe a bit more) he does from the Great 8.”
–Kevin Burgundy, Stay Classy
Tomorrow well take a look at the goaltenders as the bloggers weigh-in on the Vezina Trophy. Everyone’s been talking about Ryan Miller and Illya Bryzgalov all season—so who will win the award for league’s best goaltender? You’ll have to come back tomorrow to find out.
For a look at the entire schedule of awards as well as outline of the NHL Awards project, you can check out the details here.