Leafs Marner included in Selke Trophy finalists
Forward Mitch Marner of the Toronto Maple Leafs is one of three finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy.
The NHL revealed its three finalists on Tuesday for the award that goers to “the forward who best excels in the defensive aspect of the game.” Marner’s name is included with Boston Bruins centre Patrice Bergeron and New Jersey Devils centre Nico Hischier.
The NHL also revealed its three finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy, presented to the player who best exhibits elite skill and sportsmanship.
New Jersey Devils centre Jack Hughes, centre Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings and centre Brayden Point of the Tampa Bay Lightning are up for the award.
The winners will be announced during the NHL Awards night at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on June 26.
Marner led the NHL in take-aways this season with 104, becoming one of just seven players to reach the century mark since the statistic was introduced in 1997-98, as the Maple Leafs improved to seventh leaguewide in team defence (2.68 goals-against per game).
He ranked second among Toronto forwards and 13th among all NHL forwards in total short-handed time (182:59). In the 25 years ice time has been officially tracked, the only players with 99-plus points and that amount of total short-handed time in a season are Marner and Paul Kariya (Anaheim, 1998-99).
Marner, a first time NHL Awards finalist, is vying to become the second Toronto player to win the Selke exactly 30 years after Doug Gilmour (1992-93) became the first.
Bergeron was a standout performer on the record-breaking, 65-win Bruins team that posted the NHL’s lowest team goals-against average (2.12) in nine years. The Bruins’ captain led the NHL in faceoff wins (1,043) for the eighth time in his career and posted the top win percentage (61.1) among the 52 centre who took at least 1,000 draws.
Bergeron is a Selke Trophy finalist for the 12th straight season, two years longer than the 10 consecutive top-three Hart Trophy finishes by Wayne Gretzky (1980 through 1989) as the longest ever for a voted NHL Award. Bergeron’s record five Selke wins are one more than Bob Gainey of Montreal, who captured the trophy each of the first four years it was awarded.
Hischier’s contributions helped New Jersey post a 49-point gain over 2021-22 and set franchise records for wins (52) and points (112) in a season.
The Devils captain registered a career-best plus-33 rating and team-leading 64 take-aways as New Jersey lowered its goals-against average from 3.68 in 2021-22, which ranked 29th in the League, to 2.71 in 2022-23 (8th overall).
Hischier, selected first overall in the 2017 NHL draft, is an NHL Awards finalist for the first time. The 24-year-old can become the first No. 1 draft pick ever to win the Selke. He looks to ascend the winner’s podium three years after compatriot Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators (Norris Trophy, 2020) became the first Swiss-born player to win an individual honour at the NHL Awards.
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Frank J. Selke Trophy and Lady Byng Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 2, 2023.