by PuckStopsHere on 08/08/11 at 02:17 PM ET
The league leader last year in excess defensive zone starts was Steve Ott of the Dallas Stars. He was on the ice for 326 more defensive zone faceoffs than offensive zone ones. This shows that he played a pretty tough defensive role for Dallas. Despite that, Steve Ott did not appear on a single Selke Trophy ballot. Are these facts inconsistent?
Ott played a pretty tough defensive role, but he did not receive recognition for it. Part of the problem is one of recognition. The Selke Trophy is voted upon largely by reputation. Increasingly, offensive totals are taken into account and Ott had a 12 goal, 32 point season which is not particularly spectacular.
Ott does not have a strong defensive reputation. It takes a few years to establish one and this is the first time that Ott has had as significant a number of defensive zone starts in his life. He has been playing in Dallas. This is a market that the media is forgetting about as they are a non-traditional market and no longer much of a contender. This reduces the number of eyes watching Ott play. At first glance his numbers do not show much defensive prowess. He posted a -9 +/- rating in 2010/11. This was one point off of being the worst among players who spent his entire season in Dallas.
Ott played about two minutes per game on the penalty kill. He played against moderate opposition quality. He takes defensive faceoffs against all comers, without much concern for whether or not the opposition are the best scorers on the team or not. Ott is a pretty good faceoff man. He won 56.6% of the faceoffs he took in 2010/11. He was used in a defensive role in part because of his ability to take and win faceoffs. While he takes quite a few penalties, he also draws penalties with his aggressive play. He was a net negative taking six more minor penalties than he drew, but this is not a terrible record. These facts are all consistent with a Selke Trophy candidate.
While Ott is not the best Selke candidate in the league, he is a solid one. Several players who received Selke votes did not have as good seasons defensively as he did. Three Dallas players did receive Selke Trophy votes: Brad Richards, Loui Eriksson and Brenden Morrow. These were three of the highest four scorers on the team last year. Ott was the seventh highest scorer.
I think Steve Ott is a solid defensive player. He has a reputation as an agitator who gets “under the skin” of opposition and this can hurt his reputation for fine defensive play. His offensive totals have been consistently dropping over the last three years as he has settled into a more defensive role. To somebody who is not watching him play, this might be taken as a sign he is becoming a less effective player. He is somewhat lost from the mainstream hockey media in Dallas and does not have the strongest reputation or offensive numbers and this has kept him from having any Selke Trophy votes. He is good enough that he should have had some.
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