LAS VEGAS – Perhaps in other years with other finalists, Ducks center Ryan Kesler might have taken home his second Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward.
But when it came to the voting from the Professional Hockey Writers’ Assocation, there was no dislodging Boston’s Patrick Bergeron from his virtual stranglehold on the award Wednesday night.
A two-way star and faceoff king for the Bruins, Bergeron joined Hockey Hall of Fame forward Bob Gainey as the only players to have won the award four times. Gainey, the former Montreal Canadiens legend, won it the first four years since it came into inception in 1978.
Bergeron has won his four in the past six years, with only Chicago’s Jonathan Toews and the Kings’ Anze Kopitar breaking that run. Before that, it was Kesler who won his with Vancouver in 2011 but he would come up short this time around in his fifth time as a finalist.
Kesler was second in overall voting, with Bergeron having a 1,147-945 edge that included 71 first-place votes to Kesler’s 45. Minnesota’s Mikko Koivu had 28 first-place votes in finishing third as a first-time finalist.
It seemed to be Kesler’s best shot at capturing the award since his 2011 win as the 32-year-old had a career-high 1,029 faceoff wins and led the NHL with 773 taken and 429 won in the defensive zone. His 57.4-percent win rate was sixth and he had 22 goals and 58 points, his most in that area since 2011.
Bergeron topped the league with 1,089 faceoff wins while winning 60.1 percent to finish third. He also had 21 goals and 32 assists – offensive numbers that are down from his 32 goals and 36 assists in 2015-16. But this is an award that’s about prowess at both ends of the rink, particularly the defensive side.
Andrew Cogliano was the other Ducks player up for an individual honor during the league’s awards show at T-Mobile Arena. Cogliano, the league’s current iron man with 786 consecutive games played, became a finalist for the Bill…