by PuckStopsHere on 11/10/11 at 04:34 PM ET
A little over a week ago I picked Maxim Lapierre as the Selke Trophy leader. Being early in the season, we do not expect that to last very long. With Ryan Kesler back from injury, Lapierre is no longer playing against as tough competition. He is no longer in as strong a roll that would help him to win the award.
My current pick is a defensive forward who is somewhat “off the radar” because he is not a top scorer. I think the best defensive forward in the league so far this year has been Boyd Gordon of the Phoenix Coyotes. Gordon has six points in thirteen games. He has a +8 +/- rating that leads the Phoenix forwards. He has done this playing in a tough defensive situation. Gordon plays against very tough competition and he starts a large percentage of his shifts in the defensive zone. He plays well over three minutes a game on the penalty kill on Phoenix’s solid penalty kill. He has a 58.6% faceoff percentage, which is fifth best in the league. Gordon is a prime Selke candidate right now.
Boyd Gordon is in his first year with the Phoenix Coyotes. The Coyotes penalty kill has significantly improved with his arrival. It was at 78.4% last year and is at 87.5% this year and he is a big reason for the improvement. Last year he was in Washington and they posted an 85.6% penalty kill success rate, which is down to 78.7% this year. While one player alone cannot explain either of those shifts, Gordon is a big part of what drove both penalty kill trends.
Gordon is not a typical Selke Trophy candidate because he is not a top scorer. Last year he scored nine points. His career best is 29 points. To win the Selke Trophy in today’s NHL you must score better than that.
Boyd Gordon is a top defensive player and has been fore years. I think he should have been a Selke candidate several times in the last few years. This year he is doing a tremendous job in a tough role and is making a significant difference on the penalty kill. I think he currently deserves to be the leader for the award.
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