Kopitar a Selke finalist (again) - LA Kings Insider

Centers Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings, Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins and Sean Couturier of the Philadelphia Flyers were announced as finalists for the Frank J. Selke Memorial Trophy, awarded annually “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.”

There is a template for this story; Kopitar was a finalist in 2014, 2015 and 2016. In June, 2016, he joined Ryan Kesler (Vancouver/2011) as the only players from a team based in the Pacific or Mountain time zones to win the Selke Trophy since it was first awarded in 1978.

In addition to Kopitar’s 2016 Selke Trophy, Bergeron won the award in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2017, and is vying to become the all-time leader in Selke Trophies, surpassing Bob Gainey’s four. This is the first Selke nomination for Couturier.

Only eight players have won multiple Selkes (Bergeron-4; Gainey-4; Guy Carbonneau-3; Pavel Datsyuk-3; Jere Lehtinen-3; Rod Brind’Amour-3; Sergei Fedorov-2; Michael Peca-2).

The trophy will be presented to the winner on June 20 at the 2016 NHL Awards in Las Vegas. It is determined by a vote amongst members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association through 10-7-5-3-1-tiered voting from the top player on the ballot to the fifth player on the ballot.

A greater dive into Kopitar’s numbers will come later this spring, but the Kings’ first line center has a legitimate shot to win his second career Selke. Patrice Bergeron played in only 64 regular season games, which may affect his voting, while Couturier, who also boasts fine credentials, does not quite have the same league-wide association with the award as Kopitar.

Kopitar’s voting should be boosted by Jonathan Quick and Los Angeles claiming the Jennings Trophy and a penalty kill that led the league with an 85.0% mark. Kopitar, who led all NHL forwards in overall time on ice and time on ice per game, averaged 2:10 of shorthanded time on the ice per game as one of the league’s most effective penalty killers.

On the other hand, possession-based metrics are increasingly being used in consideration for the Selke – the other team can’t score if they’re not possessing the puck – and Kopitar’s numbers fall a touch shorter than Couturier’s and Bergeron’s in that regard. He still as qualified as any frontrunner for the trophy.

On Thursday, the NHL will reveal the three Norris Trophy finalists, a group that is likely to include Kings defenseman Drew Doughty.

Matt Kincaid/Getty Images

A quick run-through of several remedial defensive-based metrics (courtesy Natural Stat Trick):

Kopitar: 22:05
Couturier: 21:35
Bergeron: 1926

Kopitar: 2:10
Couturier: 1:53
Bergeron: 1:49

Bergeron: 57.3%
Kopitar: 54.1%
Couturier: 52.8%

Bergeron: 28.4
Kopitar: 28.6
Couturier: 28.7

CF% Rel
Bergeron: 8.9%
Couturier: 6.9%
Kopitar: 2.8%

Defensive Point Shares (via Hockey Reference)
Couturier: 3.2
Kopitar: 3.1
Bergeron: 2.3

Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Via the NHL:

Kopitar, 30, led NHL forwards in total ice time (1,810:58), an average of 22:05 per game, on a Kings team that led the League at 2.46 goals against per game. He led Kings forwards in shorthanded ice time (2:10 per game), and was third in the League in total face-offs (1,816) and face-off wins (983), setting NHL career highs in each category. Kopitar is a Selke finalist for the fourth time in five seasons. He won the award in 2016, placed second in 2014 and was third in 2015.

Bergeron, 32, is a Selke finalist for a record seventh consecutive year, passing Pavel Datsyuk’s six-year run from 2008 to 2013. Bergeron was sixth in face-off percentage (57.3 percent, minimum 750 attempts) and won a League-high 58.3 percent (minimum 50 attempts) while shorthanded. He was also first among NHL forwards in SAT percentage, with the Bruins getting 57.56 percent of all shot attempts when he was on the ice at 5-on-5.

Couturier, 25, was third in the League with a plus-34 rating, the best by a Flyers player since John LeClair was plus-36 in 1998-99. He was second in total ice time (1,770:31) and third in average ice time per game (21:35). Couturier also averaged 1:53 in shorthanded ice time per game, nearly 50 percent more than the next Flyers forward (Valtteri Filppula, 1:17), and led Philadelphia in puck possession (53.17 percent SAT, minimum 50 games played). The first-time finalist could become the first member of the Flyers to win the award since Dave Poulin in 1987 and the third in their history (Bobby Clarke, 1983).

Harry How/Getty Images

-Lead photo via Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI

Rules for Blog Commenting
  • - No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • - Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other commenters, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • - Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • - Please do not discuss, or post links to, websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • - Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.
Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.