Saturday, November 25, 2006

Selke Trophy Leader

Usually, the Selke trophy goes to a forward who does not make a significant offensive contribution to his team but is a defensive power of strength. That is not true so far this year. So far defending Selke trophy winner Rod Brind'Amour of the Carolina Hurricanes is bucking that trend. He continues his valuable defensive play and leads the NHL in faceoff wins by a significant margin (he has 421, while Chris Drury in second place has 298). He is seond among fcorward in ice time per game (behind Martin St Louis). He continues to be a tower of strength defensively for the Hurricanes. He has also contributed offensively. His 33 points make him second to Jaromir Jagr in scoring. Brind'Amour is doing it all for the Hurricanes and is a serious MVP candidate (though I would give the MVP to Nicklas Lidstrom).

Brind'Amour's resurgence is a suprise. He is currently on pace for 108 points. This would be a career best for him. Most 36 year old players don't have career best offensive seasons. His current best is 97 points and he got it 13 years ago in 1993/94. This resurgence gives Brind'Amour a shot at the hall of fame. He is picking up some awards in what is usually the twilight of a career. His 1013 career points place him 68th all time in career points. He will have to improve that ranking a bit for serious Hall for Fame consideration, but at the current rate he is scoring, it looks quite possible. This is surprising for a player who was coming off 38 and 37 point years in the two years before the lockout occurred.

I agree Brind'Amour is leading the pack for the Selke award (and would be right up there for the Hart), I disagree with

"Usually, the Selke trophy goes to a forward who does not make a significant offensive contribution to his team..."

Gonna be nitpicky here.

Looking back to Doug Gilmour's 1993 win, I find only three winners who did not make a significant offensive contribution to their teams in their winning seasons: Kris Draper in 03-04, John Madden in 00-01, and Jere Lehtinen in 98-99.

Steve Yzerman in 99-00, Fedorov in 95-96 and 93-94, and Gilmour in 92-93 lead their teams in scoring.

Mike Peca finished second on team scoring in 01-02, and Ron Francis finished second behind Art Ross Trophy winner Jaromir Jagr in 94-95.

In the final four Selke-winning seasons, the Selke winners finished no worse than fourth in team scoring, and in those fourth-place finishes (Brind'Amour in 05-06, Lehtinen in 03-04 (he did lead the team in goals that year), Lehtinen in 98-99, and Peca in 97-98), the winners were only 6, 7, 6, and 2 points behind their teams' second-place point-getters (and in Peca's case in 96-97, only four behind the team leader).

So, the way I see it, Selke winners have mostly consisted of elite scorers in their years (Gilmour, Fedorov), very good scorers by league standards those years (Francis, Yzerman), or integral offensive complements to their teams' offensive leaders (though not offensive stars league-wide for sure) in their winning years (Lehtinen, Peca, Brind'Amour).
Perhaps I should have written that generally the Selke trophy *SHOULDN'T* go to a player who makes a significant offensive contribution. If a player is on the ice thinking offence is he really a defensive forward?

In Brind'Amour's case this year I think he is the best choice for the Selke even though he has made a huge offensive contribution so far. In many of the cases you cite the guy who won is an offensive forward who doesn't neglect defensive duties (and not a defensive forward) who had a good year and the writer's wanted to give an award.

The real problem with the Selke is that it was created for Bob Gainey. He was a player who made a huge impact on the Canadiens but it didn't show up on the scoresheet. They figured there ought to be an award for people like him. Problem is most of the time, there is nobody like him, but the award still must go to somebody.
Gotcha. I agree with that pretty much.
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