by PuckStopsHere on 12/18/11 at 03:45 PM ET
It can be tough to settle on a Selke Trophy leader in the first half of the season because defensive play is hard to quantitatively assess. It is a tough judgement call to pick the best defensive forward in the league even when armed with a large array of hockey games watched and the best statistics available. In the later part of November I picked Loui Eriksson of the Dallas Stars as the Selke Trophy leader. Today my choice is Frans Nielsen of the New York Islanders.
Nielsen is a very good Selke choice. He is a relentless defensive player who plays a thankless role on the Islanders. He spends well over two minutes a game on the penalty kill. He plays against the toughest opposition players. He has a significant number of defensive zone starts. While doing this he is quite successful. He is one of the few New York Islanders players with game changing ability.
He probably is not a legitimate candidate to win the Selke Trophy because he is not a big scorer. Thus far this season he has 13 points. He plays on a weak New York Islander team that has only ten wins so far this year and sits in second last in the East Conference. This hurts his puck possession numbers, for example his -1 +/- rating does not look particularly impressive until one realizes that only one other regular Islander has a higher +/- rating. That player is Matt Moulson and does not play the tough defensive role Nielsen does.
I expect Nielsen can get named on several Selke Trophy ballots but not as a first place nominee. As a result there is a good chance he will finish in the top ten finishers in the voting but not be among the nominees at the award show. If Frans Nielsen played on a better team, I think his Selke candidacy would be seen as more serious and he might be a nominee.
Frans Nielsen is a very good defensive player who plays a very tough role successfully. He is very valuable to his team despite not being a top scorer. He is the kind of player who should win a Selke Trophy. He probably will lose out to a higher scorer, which isn’t the right idea for the award.
Add a Comment
Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.
Most Recent Blog Posts
About The Puck Stops Here
Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.
Why am I blogging? I want to.
Why are you reading it? ???