The NHL revealed the final three candidates for the Frank J. Selke and Lady Byng Trophies this morning. The Selke is awarded annually to “the forward who best excels in the defensive aspect of the game.” After finally breaking Pavel Datsyuk’s three year death grip on the trophy (’08, ’09, ’10), Ryan Kesler of the late Vancouver Canucks is the reigning champion from last season. The nominees for this year are:

David Backes- St. Louis Blues

Patrice Bergeron- Boston Bruins

Pavel Datsyuk- Detroit Red Wings

In order to evaluate a forward’s defensive game, you have to look at a few important factors such as plus/minus rating, time spent on the penalty kill, quality of competition, puck possession, etc. My pick for this award is Patrice Bergeron, who led the league with a plus-36 rating and was second in the league in faceoff win percentage (59.3). He plays close to 20 minutes per game, is typically matched up against other team’s top lines, and ended the regular season with only 20 penalty minutes.

The Lady Byng Trophy is awarded annually to the player who “exhibits the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” In the past 6 years, only two players have won this trophy: Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings. This year, we have three new names on the ballot, all very deserving:

Brian Campbell- Florida Panthers

Jordan Eberle- Edmonton Oilers

Matt Moulson- New York Islanders

The important factors for this award include having a strong season offensively, while staying far away from the penalty box. Defenseman Brian Campbell played in all 82 games, accumulating 53 points, and only 6 penalty minutes. In his second NHL season, Jordan Eberle recorded 76 points and spent 10 minutes in the box (less than half of the time he spent there last season). Islanders’ forward Matt Moulson became the first player since Paul Kariya in 1996-1997 to record at least 30 goals (36) and have single-digit penalty minutes (6). All three of these players are very deserving of this award, but my pick is Brian Campbell. Only three defenseman in NHL history have won this award, and it hasn’t been done since the 1953-1954 season.

Every day this week, the NHL will be announcing the finalists for the remaining awards:

Tuesday: Masterton Trophy and GM of the Year

Wednesday: Vezina Trophy

Thursday: Norris Trophy

Friday: Hart Trophy

Monday 4/30: Jack Adams Award and NHL Foundation Award


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