Bergeron, Couturier and O'Reilly named finalists for Selke Trophy

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By WGR 550 SportsRadio

The National Hockey League has announced the three finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy on Monday, which recognizes"the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game." This award is voted on annually by the members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.

The three finalists for the Selke Trophy are Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron, Philadelphia Flyers forward Sean Couturier and St. Louis Blues forward Ryan O'Reilly.

The 2020 Selke Trophy finalists are Patrice Bergeron, Sean Couturier and Ryan O'Reilly. -- #NHLAwards@NHLdotcom has more ➡️ https://t.co/fR8gqQTIrS pic.twitter.com/sgebSouwPW

— NHL (@NHL) July 20, 2020

Bergeron is no stranger to this award as he has been recognized as one of the best defensive forward in the NHL for the past 12 seasons. The 34-year-old has won the Selke Trophy four times in his career, and has been a top-three finalist for the award now for nine consecutive seasons. He has finished in the top-five of Selke Trophy voting for 11 consecutive years going back to the 2009-10 season.

It was four seasons ago when Bergeron won his last Selke Trophy in the 2016-17 season, where he put up 21 goals and registered 32 assists for 53 points in 79 games played.

This season was another very productive year for Bergeron in Boston, where he scored his sixth-career 30-goal season (31), while also posting 25 assists for 56 points in 61 games. He was on pace to set a career-high in goals this season with 37, while also registering 30 assists for 67 points in a possible 73 games playing with linemates David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand.

In his 16-year career with the Bruins, Bergeron has played in 1,089 games, while scoring 352 goals and adding 517 assists for 869 points.

Boston finished the 2019-20 season with a league-best 44-14-12 record with 100 points in the standings, which earned the team the Presidents' Trophy. The Bruins will compete in the seeding round-robin tournament in the Eastern Conference for the chance at the top-seed in the East for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They will also compete with the Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Washington Capitals in round-robin play.

2019-20 Frank J. Selke Trophy finalist: Patrice BergeronBergeron led @NHLBruins forwards in shifts per game (22.9), playing an average of 18:44 – including 1:43 on the penalty kill – as the club allowed a League-low 174 goals. https://t.co/iLrIo2m7t3 #NHLAwards #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/yWjOr5m5VL

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 20, 2020

For Couturier, this nomination for the Selke Trophy is his second-career top-three nomination as he finished second in voting for the award back in 2018 when he lost out to Los Angeles Kings forward Anze Kopitar.

The 27-year-old center for the Flyers continues to become one of the most reliable forwards in the league with his play the defensive zone. Couturier ended up finishing the season with 22 goals and 37 assists for 59 points in 69 games, which is a pace of 26 goals, 44 assists and 70 points in a complete 82-game schedule.

Since coming into the NHL as a 19-year-old in the 2011-12 season, Couturier has developed into a phenomenal two-way center in Philadelphia. In 647 career games, all with the Flyers, Couturier has scored 156 goals and amassed 246 assists for 402 points.

Overall, the Flyers returned to playoff shape this season after missing out on the postseason in the 2018-19 season. This season saw Philadelphia go 41-21-7 in 69 games and finish second in the Metropolitan Division behind just the Washington Capitals.

When the NHL makes its return for the Return To Play plan on Aug. 1, the Flyers will compete in the Eastern Conference seeding round-robin tournament.

2019-20 Frank J. Selke Trophy finalist: Sean CouturierCouturier paced the NHL by winning 59.6% of his face-offs: 59.5% in the defensive zone; 60.4% in the neutral zone; 59.1% in the offensive zone. https://t.co/iLrIo2m7t3 #NHLAwards #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/z1gzpgCJFk

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 20, 2020

As for O'Reilly, his fit with the St. Louis Blues has been nothing but spectacular since he was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres in the summer of 2018. The 29-year-old has become the Blues' top-line center, and has turned into a really dynamic two-way presence in the St. Louis lineup.

In his first season in St. Louis, O'Reilly ended up finishing the regular season with 28 goals and 49 assists for 77 points in 82 games. That play not only earned him the Selke Trophy in 2019, but it carried over into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where he put up eight goals and 15 assists for 23 points in 26 games to earn the Conn Smythe Trophy and help the Blues win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

This season was another brilliant year for O'Reilly with 12 goals and 49 assists for 61 points in 71 games played. Although he was on pace to score just 14 goals this season, he was set to break his career-high in assists with 57, which would have gotten him past the 70-point mark for a second-consecutive season.

O'Reilly is also up for the Lady Byng Trophy this season as "to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability." It's the fourth time he's been a finalist for the award, where he won the honor back in the 2013-14 season as a member of the Colorado Avalanche.

The Blues finished the 2019-20 campaign as one of the top teams in the NHL again with a 42-19-10 record and 94 points in the standings. The team finished first in the Central Division standings and will compete with the Avalanche, Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference seeding round-robin tournament to determine the top-four seeds in the West for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

2019-20 Frank J. Selke Trophy finalist: Ryan O’ReillyO’Reilly led the NHL in face-off wins (880) for a third consecutive season and also topped the League in percentage of team face-offs taken (38.7%). https://t.co/iLrIo2m7t3 #NHLAwards #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/hATrlMdCEm

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 20, 2020

The winner of the Selke Trophy will be announced during the Conference Finals.

The Hart Trophy, given "to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team," is the final award the league will name their finalists for on Tuesday.