by PuckStopsHere on 01/23/11 at 10:20 PM ET
The Selke Trophy is given to the best defensive forward each season. I take this to mean the forward who would earn the most win shares with his defensive play. Generally there are two types of players who are in the race and there is no particular reason that one should be favored over the other. There are defensive specialists who are generally third line players who have little offensive value, but are used to kill penalties and shut down the top players on the opposing team and there are two-way players who play first line roles and contribute offensively, but also play very good defence. Usually it is two-way players who win the Selke Trophy because voters are influenced by offensive totals - even though they shouldn’t be.
I have been supporting Jeff Halpern of the Montreal Canadiens since November. He is a third line defensive specialist who usually has little chance to win the Selke, but he should be in the middle of the race right now. He has slowed down from a fast start and is now out with an upper body injury, so it is time to pick a new leader.
I am now picking a two-way player in Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks. He has a better chance of actually winning the Selke because he is a front-line two-way player and his offensive totals will impress voters. He has earned a reputation as a top defensive forward with his strong two way play the helped his team win the Olympic gold and the Stanley Cup last year.
This reputation is deserved. Toews plays against top competition and does a good job in shutting them down and is often able to turn their shifts into offensive opportunities for his team. Toews is the top penalty killing forward on his Chicago team. He is the top two-way player in the game today and is having a very good season.
I think that most likely the voters will see Ryan Kesler and Mike Richards as they are two-way players, who have scored better than Toews, but Toews has been better defensively and that is what the Selke is about.
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