Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron will be recognized as one of hockey’s best defensive forwards at the 2015 NHL Awards ceremony in Las Vegas in June.
The veteran forward is a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, which is awarded annually to the league’s top defensive forward. Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews and Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar are the other finalists.
This is the fourth time Bergeron has been a finalist for the award. He won it in 2011-12 and 2013-14. Four players have won the Selke three or more times since it was first awarded in 1977-78.
Bergeron is the favorite to win the award. He finished the campaign as the best faceoff man in the league with a 60.2 win percentage on draws and a league-leading 1,175 faceoff wins. Bergeron also was an elite puck possession player with a 58.16 Corsi For percentage during 5-on-5 play (fourth-best among all forwards) and an 8.99 Corsi Relative (second-best among all forwards).
Bergeron also received difficult zone starts (45.5 percent of his even-strength shifts began in the attacking zone) and tough assignments against opponents’ top lines. Despite all that, Bergeron ended 50.1 of those even-strength shifts in the attacking zone, which illustrates how effective he is at helping the Bruins get the puck out of their own end and start the rush up ice.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images