Photo credit: cbc.ca

On Thursday, the NHL announced the names of the three Selke finalists: Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, Anze Kopitar of the LA Kings and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks. The Frank J. Selke Trophy is awarded “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.”

Patrice Bergeron finished the 2013-14 season ranked third in the league in faceoff percentage, winning puck drops at a 58.6% rate (1,015-for-1,732) and lead the NHL in faceoff wins with 1,015. Often tasked with shutting down top oppositions, Bergon was second in the league in plus/minus rating at +38, behind teammate David Krejci (+39). He also finished 66 of 80 regular games played with an even or positive rating. Bergeron is the heavy favorite to win.

Anze Kopitar appeared in all 82 games and logged more ice time (1,712:45) than all NHL forwards except Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby for the club that allowed a league-low average of 2.05 goals per game. He also logged the most shorthanded time (164:53) among the League’s top 30 scorers. Kopitar led the Kings and tied for fourth in the NHL in plus-minus with a career-high +34 rating. He won 53.3% of his 1,451 face-offs. For the seventh straight year, Kopitar was the team’s leading point scorer. The only year he did not lead the team in points was in his rookie campaign in 2006-2007. Kopitar is a Selke Trophy finalist for the first time and becomes the first Kings player in franchise history to garner a Selke nomination.

Jonathan Toews is a finalist for the second year in a row and third time in four years. Throughout the regular season, Toews ranked third on the Blackhawks with 68 points and ranked second on the team with a plus-26 rating in 76 games. He was also second on the team with 51 takeaways and won 57.2 percent of his faceoffs this season. Toews placed fifth in the NHL in both face-off wins (884) and percentage (57.2%) in taking 1,544 draws, nearly double the total of the next Blackhawks center. He topped all Chicago forwards in average ice time per game (20:28) and ranked second on the club in takeaways (51) and plus-minus (+26), including a cumulative +7 rating against top Conference rivals Anaheim, Colorado, St. Louis and San Jose. Only three Blackhawks have won the Selke Trophy since it was first awarded at the end of the 1977-78 season: Troy Murray (1986), Dirk Graham (1991) and Toews (2013).

The trophy was presented in 1977 by the National Hockey League Board of Governors in honor of Frank J. Selke, one of the great architects of Montreal and Toronto championship teams.

The winner will be announced Tuesday, June 24, during the 2014 NHL Awards from Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. The 2014 NHL Awards will be broadcast by NBCSN.

Born and raised in the Los Angeles area, I sort of grew up an LA Kings fan by default. My dad was into hockey and then my brother got into hockey and I found that I sorta liked this hockey stuff. Go Kings.

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