Sean Couturier Wins Selke Trophy For 2019-20 Season

The NHL announced on Thursday night that Sean Couturier of the Philadelphia Flyers was the Selke Trophy winner for the 2019-20 season. The Trophy is awarded annually to the National Hockey League forward who demonstrates the most skill in the defensive component of the game.

Couturier led the NHL in face-off winning percentage (59.6 percent, minimum 750 attempts) and finished second in defensive-zone face-off winning percentage (59.5 percent). He ranked first among Flyers forwards in ice time per game (19:50) and total shorthanded ice time (140:29), and led all Philadelphia skaters with an SAT percentage of 56.1 percent.

The center scored 59 points (22 goals, 37 assists) and was plus-21 in 69 regular-season games, helping the Flyers (41-21-7, .645 points percentage) earn a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Philadelphia, which finished the round-robin portion of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers as the No. 1 seed in the East, lost to the New York Islanders in seven games in the Eastern Conference Second Round.

The Capitals Nicklas Backstrom received one 5th place vote.


ABOUT THE AWARD

The award is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Voting was completed before the start of the postseason.

The trophy was first awarded at the end of the 1977–78 NHL season. It was named after Frank J. Selke, former general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens.

The Selke Trophy was the fifth and last of the major NHL awards to be introduced that have been named after General Managers and owners of the Original Six teams, the other awards being the Art Ross Trophy, James Norris Memorial Trophy, Conn Smythe Trophy, and Jack Adams Award.


ABOUT THE FINALISTS

Patrice Bergeron, Sean Couturier and Ryan O’Reilly were this years  finalists for the Trophy.

Bergeron, who is trying to win the award for a record fifth time, ranked fourth in face-off winning percentage (57.9 percent; minimum 750 attempts) and third in defensive-zone face-off winning percentage (58.4 percent) before the season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. He was tied with Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres for seventh in face-offs taken (1,311), was fifth in face-offs won (759), and was first among Boston Bruins forwards in blocked shots (46) and second with 1:43 of shorthanded ice time per game behind Joakim Nordstrom (1:56).

“It’s always a great recognition, obviously,” Bergeron said. “You have to also realize you keep in mind that it is a team sport. I wouldn’t be here without the help of all my teammates. It’s the same thing every year. It’s one of those things where you can’t accomplish that on your own. I’ve been fortunate enough to play on great teams, great lines, and been coached by great coaches. That has helped me tremendously over the years.”

The center, who scored 56 points (31 goals, 25 assists), was plus-23, and averaged 18:44 of ice time in 61 games, helped the Bruins allow the fewest goals in the NHL (167; 2.39 per game) and win the Presidents’ Trophy with the best record in the League (44-14-12, .714 points percentage). He ranked second among Bruins forwards in shot attempts percentage (minimum 10 games played), with Boston taking 56.0 percent of all shot attempts when he was on the ice at 5-on-5. A Selke finalist for a record ninth consecutive season, Bergeron finished third last season and has not won it since 2016-17.

The Bruins reached the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where they lost were defeated in five games by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Couturier is a finalist for the second time after finishing as the runner-up to Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings in 2017-18. He led the NHL in face-off winning percentage (59.6 percent) and finished third in defensive-zone face-off winning percentage (59.5 percent) among players to take at least 500 face-offs. He ranked first among Flyers forwards in ice time per game (19:50) and total shorthanded ice time (140:29), and led all Flyers skaters with an SAT percentage of 56.1 percent.

“It’s nice to be honored and recognized by the media,” Couturier said. “It reflects on the year that the team had as well. I try to pay attention to details and do the right things all the time, be on the right side of the puck and reliable in all aspects of the game. I try to take pride in that.”

The center scored 59 points (22 goals, 37 assists) and was plus-21 in 69 games, helping the Flyers (41-21-7, .645) earn a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where they were defeated by the New York Islanders in seven games in the Eastern Conference Second Round. Couturier would be the third Flyers player to win the award and first since Dave Poulin in 1986-87.

“I hate to use that [phrase], a perfect player, but it’s the closest thing that you’ll find,” Flyers assistant coach Ian Laperriere said. “There’s no cheat in his game. And what is great about Coots (Couturier) is he’s a great example for young guys like (forward Morgan) Frost and (forward Joel) Farabee to just to look at him and see what he does, on and off the ice. He’s one of our leaders for a reason.”

O’Reilly won the award last season and is a finalist for the second time. He led the NHL in face-off wins for the third straight season (880) and was first in face-offs taken (1,556). He finished seventh in face-off winning percentage (56.6 percent, minimum 750 face-offs) and took the most defensive-zone face-offs (593).

The center scored 61 points (12 goals, 49 assists), was plus-11, and averaged 20:34 of ice time per game, most among Blues forwards, in 71 games. His average of 2:09 of shorthanded ice time per game was second among Blues forwards, as were his SAT percentage of 52.8 percent (minimum 15 games) and his 42 blocked shots.

O’Reilly was named a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy on July 16. The award, voted on by the PHWA, is given annually to the NHL player who best combines sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct and ability.

The Blues, who finished with the best record in the Western Conference (42-19-10, .662), were defeated by the Vancouver Canucks in six games in the Western Conference First Round.

The 2020 NHL Awards were scheduled for June 18 in Las Vegas but were postponed March 25.

The winner of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (Nathan MacKinnon, Auston Matthews, Ryan O’Reilly) will be announced tomorrow (Friday) evening.

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His passion for the Caps has grown over the decades, which has included time as a season ticket holder, social media and community organizer, and most recently led to the founding of NoVa Caps in 2014. Jon earned a Bachelor's of Science in Engineering at Old Dominion University, and is a Systems Engineer during intermissions, which has been instrumental in supporting his Capitals habit.
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