by PuckStopsHere on 11/26/11 at 05:05 PM ET
The Selke Trophy is given to the best defensive forward in the NHL. Reputation is a large part of how this award is decided in many people’s minds. I try to reject this because it is essentially gives an award for past accomplishments and not what was accomplished this season. When I pick the best defensive forward in a season, I am trying to pick a player based only upon this season. I last picked Boyd Gordon of the Phoenix Coyotes. He is a very good penalty killer who is having a good season. He isn’t the traditional Selke Trophy candidate because he isn’t much of an offensive player and you need a few points to get noticed for the award.
There are several very good Selke candidates who are better offensive players. There is Mike Richards of the Los Angeles Kings and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks, but I think the best candidate right now is Loui Eriksson of the Dallas Stars.
Eriksson does not have the same reputation as Richards or Toews. Eriksson has done a wonderful job of shutting down the top line on the opposing team. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves for his play being a low profile player out of the limelight in Dallas. He has been one of the best defensive forwards in the league for the past couple of years and continues to get better. He has posted 20 points in 22 games and has a team leading +12 +/- rating despite playing against tough opposition. That is the stats line of a player who might with the Selke.
Offence plays too large a role in the way Selke Trophy winners are chosen. Loui Eriksson can score. That shouldn’t be necessary to win the award, but it is. I think Eriksson is the front runner even without his offensive skill. Defensively he is relentless and shuts down the top players on the opposition. He has yet to earn the reputation he deserves for this work, but I think it is coming. I think Eriksson will be a Selke Trophy candidate in the future after he earns his reputation as a top defensive player. He may or may not be a better defensive player when that happens, but he has been the top in the league so far this season. The recognition will come.
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