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Flyers’ Sean Couturier wins his first Selke Trophy

Sean Couturier beats out Ryan O'Reilly and Patrice Bergeron for the Selke Trophy, awarded annually to the forward voted as the best to excel in the defensive aspects of the game.

For the first time in his career, Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier won the Frank J. Selke Trophy. Couturier finished first ahead of 2019-20 Selke Trophy finalists Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins) and Ryan O’Reilly (St. Louis Blues).

As a reminder, Couturier wins the 2020 Selke Trophy, which is the forward “who demonstrates the most skill in the defensive component of the game.” The Pro Hockey Writers Association votes on this award.

After Bergeron (and to a lesser extent, Anze Kopitar) managed a stranglehold on the Selke, we’ve seen a run of first-time winner. Ryan O’Reilly took home his first Selke in 2018-19, and now it’s Couturier’s turn.


Sean Couturier wins the 2020 Selke Trophy over Bergeron, O’Reilly

By winning the Selke, Couturier continues his journey from being underrated to getting the recognition he deserves.

Couturier logged 2:02 shorthanded time on ice per game during the regular season. The 27-year-old forward scored 22 goals and 59 points in 69 games this season.

While many don’t value the stat, some voters likely noticed Couturier’s +27 rating. Speaking of traditional stats, Couturier enjoyed his career-best season in the faceoff circle, winning 59.7 percent of his draws.

When you look at certain underlying stats, Couturier may have enjoyed better seasons in previous campaigns:

Interestingly, Couturier actually saw a dip in overall ice time under Alain Vigneault in 2019-20 (19:50 per game) after averaging a career-high of 22:08 per game in 2018-19.

Even so, most would likely agree that criticisms about Couturier boil down to nitpicking. He’s been an absolute gem for the Flyers for years now. Perhaps he took subtle steps back this season, but it makes plenty of sense for Couturier to have a Selke Trophy on his resume.

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James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.