Boston Bruins

By Ty Anderson,

In a hotly contested race with the Flyers’ Sean Couturier and Los Angeles captain Anze Kopitar for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, awarded annually to the National Hockey League’s top defensive forward, Patrice Bergeron came up short.

Named a finalist for the Selke for the seventh straight season, this year actually saw Bergeron finish third among the three finalists, with 817 points and just 34 first-place votes. Kopitar, the award’s winner for the second time in three years, led the way with 70 first-place votes and over 1,100 points in the voting.

Bergeron’s linemate, Brad Marchand, managed to finish 10th in the league voting, with 25 points.

But despite failing to take the award home for the third straight season (something that hasn’t happened since Pavel Datsyuk from 2008 through 2010), No. 37 continued to wow as the NHL’s top two-way centers.

Known as one of the best faceoff men in the league, and with a 57.3 faceoff percentage, Bergeron ranked third among all NHL centers with at least 1,200 battles at the dot this season.

Bergeron was his normal possession-monster self in 2017-18, too, with a 57.68 Corsi-For percentage at five-on-five, which ranked as the best mark among all NHL forwards with at least 800 minutes of five-on-five time on ice. The Boston alternate captain was also on the ice for just 27 five-on-five goals against, which ranked as the 10th-fewest among qualified forwards. In fact, and as the centerpiece of what may have been the best three-zone line in hockey with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak as his wings, the Bergeron Line had a ridiculous run that saw them play over 220 minutes together to begin the season before the opposition scored a goal against them at even-strength play.

Never one to simply be content with his five-on-five play, the 32-year-old Bergeron also skated as a pivotal piece of a Boston penalty kill that finished with the league’s third-best killing rate, at 83.7 percent. His 58.3 shorthanded faceoff percentage ranked as the best in all of the NHL, while his 88 shorthanded wins at the dot were the league’s 8th-most.

But it seems that Bergeron’s injury woes, which resulted in him missing 18 games during the regular season, and increased offensive role for the B’s (ironically) played a definite factor in preventing him from capturing his fifth Selke.

Bergeron entered the 2018 NHL Awards with Selke victories in three of the last four seasons (his last loss came to the Kopitar in 2016), and remains tied with Bob Gainey for the most Selke Trophy wins in NHL history, with four.

Ty Anderson is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.