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Selke Trophy: Nick Suzuki finished 13ᵉ on the ballot
Credit: Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images
As the playoffs continue, the results of the various National Hockey League regular-season trophies are trickling in.

These various trophies reward NHL players in different categories, from the most valuable player to his team (MVP – Hart Trophy), to the best goalkeeper of the regular season (Vezina Trophy).

In short, many NHL players receive fine trophies for their regular season.

Last night, the results of the Selke Trophy were revealed.

This trophy is awarded to the best defensive forward in the entire NHL, i.e. the forward with the best defensive statistics.

Of course, for many years now, this trophy has not been awarded to a strictly defensive forward.

To win it, you also have to rack up your share of points, while playing solidly in your own zone, as Patrice Bergeron did for many seasons.

Now that Bergeron has retired, we were treated to a different winner this year, with Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Bakrov taking top honors.

As for the rest of the list of individual votes, the name of Montreal Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki stands out at 13ᵉ.

He finishes with 30 points overall, with a second-place vote.

13ᵉ on the ballot is better than nothing, but seriously, Suzuki would have deserved to be higher on this list.

He’s coming off an incredible season (career-best 77 points in 82 games), while remaining excellent defensively, while playing for a bad NHL team.

The Habs finished the season with a -53 differential, having allowed 289 goals all season, the fifth-highest goal total in the entire NHL this season.

What’s more, when we take a closer look at the overall voting results for the Selke Trophy, we notice that Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner received a FIRST-place vote, while Suzuki did not.

This means that one of the voting members believes that Mitch Marner should have won the Selke.

I beg your pardon?

I understand that Marner isn’t bad defensively, but he’s still a far cry from Suzuki.

For those unfamiliar with advanced statistics and this site, please note that this is data collected to get a good idea of the offensive and defensive play of each individual player.

The two rightmost columns represent the defensive stats of the two players.

  • xGA/60 = the number of goals against expected per 60 minutes when the player is on the ice.
  • CA/60 = Corsi (number and quality of shots) against per 60 minutes when the player is on the ice.

What we need to understand, then, is that Suzuki is much better at preventing the opposition from generating scoring chances than Marner is when he’s on the ice.

And when you push the analysis even further, you notice that he has about the same defensive stats as a certain Auston Matthews, who himself finished 3ᵉ in the poll.

All in all, Suzuki’s defensive game is underestimated, especially considering he’s playing on a lower-ranked team.

Let’s hope that in the coming years, Suzuki will get more recognition, even if it means winning a Selke trophy one day.

Here are Suzuki’s complete stats this season.

By way of comparison, Marner finished the season with a defensive rating of 51. Matthews, on the other hand, had a defensive rating of 94.

In Bursts

– Five-year contract for Brind’Amour in Carolina.

– Big games not to be missed today. Canada and Switzerland will battle for first place in Group A.

– Bowen Byram receives one game suspension.

– What do you think? If all available, my choice is clearly Cayden Lindstrom.

– Good news for the Quebecer.

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