Patrice Bergeron, Ryan O’Reilly, Mark Stone voted Selke Trophy finalists

The NHL announced the three finalists for the Selke Trophy on Wednesday, awarded “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.”

This year’s finalists are Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, Ryan O’Reilly of the St. Louis Blues and Mark Stone of the Vegas Golden Knights.

Bergeron is already a four-time winner of this award, which ties him with Bob Gainey for the all-time lead. He is a finalist for the eighth consecutive season, last winning it in 2017. This season, Bergeron helped the Bruins to a tie for third in goals-against per game (2.59), had a team-best plus-23, and logged the most shorthanded time among all Boston forwards (1:42 per game). He had the eighth-best faceoff winning percentage (56.6 per cent), which was the 10th consecutive season he was above the 56 per cent mark. On the offensive side, Bergeron finished third in Bruins scoring with 32 goals and 79 points in 65 games, setting a new career-high in points.

O’Reilly, long regarded as an elite two-way player, is a first-time finalist for this trophy and is trying to become just the second Blues player in franchise history to win it, following Rick Meagher in 1990. O’Reilly led the NHL in faceoff wins for the second consecutive season (1,086) and joins Bergeron as the only NHLers to have four consecutive seasons with 1,000-plus faceoff wins since the stat was introduced. He led all Blues forwards in average time on ice (20:46) and led the entire team with a plus-22 rating. On offence, his 77 points led the Blues and set a new personal best.

Stone is a first time Selke finalist and, in fact, is the first winger to crack the top three in voting since New Jersey’s Jay Pandolfo did it in 2006-07 (he finished third). For the fourth time in the past five seasons, Stone led the league in takeaways, earning 122 in 77 games this season — the only player with more recorded takeaways in a single season was three-time Selke winner Pavel Datsyuk (144 in 2007-08 and 132 in 2009-10). If Stone wins the Selke, he would be the first winger to do it since Dallas’s Jere Lehtinen in 2002-03.

The Selke Trophy is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. All award winners will be announced on June 19 at the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas.

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