by PuckStopsHere on 04/02/10 at 01:34 PM ET
I do not like most of the popular front runners for the Selke Trophy this year. Many people support Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings. He won the award for the last two years. I did not support Datsyuk last year because he isn’t played often enough in defensive situations. Datsyuk has only played 59 minutes shorthanded so far this year. It is a drop by about 50% on last year and last year’s total was unreasonably low for a Selke Trophy winner. The other top popular Selke candidates are people who played strong defensive roles in the Olympics (which will impact the NHL awards - even though they shouldn’t). There is Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks who played a strong defensive role for the US Olympic Team and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks who played a strong defensive role for the Canadian Olympic Team. Kesler is generally considered the better candidate as he was a Selke Trophy nominee last year.
The problem with Ryan Kesler is that, although he plays against tough opposition, the opposition has been scoring when Kesler is on the ice. Ryan Kesler has a poor on/off ice +/- rating. There exist Selke candidates who do not have this problem.
The problem with Jonathan Toews is that he does not play in enough defensive situations. Chicago gives him a lot more offensive zone starts than defensive ones. They put Toews on the ice for offensive zone faceoffs far more often than defensive ones and this isn’t right for a Selke Trophy winner.
The top two Selke Trophy candidates should be Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks, who i picked as the leader a few weeks ago and Jordan Staal of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who was suggested in the comments of that post. At the time, I picked Marleau because he plays against a higher quality of opposition, which he still does, but the differences between them is shrinking. Given that Staal is second among forwards in shorthanded ice time (Jay McClement of st Louis is first but does not have nearly as good success with that ice time) and Marleau is 23rd, with over 60 minutes less, I think Jordan Staal is a better pick. Thus, I select Jordan Staal as the player most worthy of the Selke Trophy this year, but I think that likely it will go to one of the less worthy popular candidates.
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