Flyers center Sean Couturier has been named as a finalist for the Selke Trophy, the NHL announced on Wednesday night.
The Frank J. Selke Trophy is awarded annually to the forward who demonstrates the most skill in the defensive component of the game. The winner is selected by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA) following the end of the regular season. It was first award following the 1977-78 season and is named after former Maple Leafs and Canadiens general manager Frank J. Selke.
Couturier enjoyed a career year in his age-25 season, setting career highs in goals (34), assists (45) and points (76). Not only did Couturier enjoy a career season himself, he centered captain Claude Giroux, who posted a career-high 34 goals and 102 points in his first season on the wing.
But while his growth in his offensive game was most apparent in 2017-18, Couturier was again one of the NHL’s very finest players defensively. Couturier finished fifth in the league with a plus-34 rating while starting 56.4% of his shifts in the defensive zone. He posted a 53.2% Corsi For Percentage and was +5.33% relative to his teammates despite often earning shifts against opponents’ top scoring line.
He was also selected by his Flyers teammates for the Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy as most improved player and awarded the Yanick Dupre Class Guy Award for character, dignity, and respect on and off the ice by the Philadelphia chapter of the PHWA.
Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar and Boston’s Patrice Bergeron are the other two finalists for the award. Another would break Bergeron’s tie with former Canadiens great Bob Gainey for the most all-time, but we’ve got a feeling that someone that the Bruins’ pivot will take home the hardware this time around.
The winner of the Selke Trophy will be announced at the NHL Awards on June 20th at 8:00 p.m. on NBCSN.