NEW YORK — Boston Bruins centre Patrice Bergeron, Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier and St. Louis Blues center Ryan O'Reilly are the three finalists for the 2019-20 Selke Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL's best defensive forward.
Bergeron helped the Bruins allow a League-low 174 goals as the team finished atop the NHL standings. He led Boston forwards in shifts per game (22.9), playing an average of 18 minutes 44 seconds – including 1:43 on the penalty kill – while finishing 15th in the NHL in plus/minus (plus-23). Bergeron also ranked fifth in the league with 759 face-off wins.
The 34-year-old Ancienne-Lorette, Que., native is a four-time Selke Trophy winner and a finalist for a record ninth straight season.
Couturier led the NHL by winning 59.6 per cent of his face-offs (542-for-909). He was consistent throughout the ice, winning 59.5 per cent of his face-offs in the defensive zone, 60.4 per cent in the neutral zone and 59.1 per cent in the offensive zone. No other NHL player topped 58 per cent in all three zones.
The 27-year-old from Bathurst, N.B., who finished second in Selke Trophy voting in 2017-18, also led all Philadelphia skaters with a plus-21 rating while pacing team forwards in both total time on ice (1,368:23) and shorthanded time on ice (140:29).
O'Reilly, the reigning Selke Trophy winner, led the NHL in face-off victories (880) for the third consecutive season, making him the third player to achieve that feat since the statistic was introduced.
O'Reilly also topped the league in percentage of team face-offs taken (38.7 per cent) while ranking 10th in face-off winning percentage (56.6 per cent).
The 29-year-old Clinton, Ont., native is seeking to become the first repeat Selke Trophy winner since Bergeron took home the award in both 2013-14 and 2014-15.