Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron could soon become the first player in NHL history to win the Frank J. Selke Trophy five times.
Bergeron and Montreal Canadiens legend Bob Gainey each have won the award a record four times. The B's star most recently won the it during the 2016-17 season, and he's expected to again be a finalist this year.
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In fact, if it were up to NHL head coaches, Bergeron would win the award for the 2019-20 campaign. The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun recently polled the league's 31 head coaches and asked them to give their pick for the Selke Trophy. Bergeron received 14 votes from the 30 coaches who responded to LeBrun, with Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier receiving 10 votes in second place.
It should be noted Selke Trophy voting is done by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, and all ballots must be turned in by Monday.
Bergeron had another excellent defensive season, in addition to his impressive and consistent offensive production. One of the head coaches in LeBrun's poll who voted for Bergeron called it an "easy selection," while a different coach described the Bruins center as "the gold standard."
There are so many different stats to use when making a pick for the Selke Trophy, and the increase of analytics into the modern NHL game has given us a better picture of which players really make a huge difference in the defensive aspect of the sport.
Whether you look at faceoffs, puck-possession, scoring chance numbers (both for and against), the penalty kill or any of the other areas of the game where defense matters a lot, Bergeron rates highly in all of them. He also tallied 56 points (31 goals, 25 assists) in 61 games.
Bergeron isn't the only player who deserves consideration for the Selke. Couturier has a strong case, and so do former winners Ryan O'Reilly of the St. Louis Blues and Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings. But when you look at Bergeron's stats, and factor in his team finished with the league's best record during the regular season, it's clear the Bruins center is most deserving of the Selke Trophy in 2020.