The first Chicago Blackhawk to ever win the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward was a guy who wore No. 19 and played at the University of North Dakota.
History may repeat itself.
Another UND product who wears No. 19 for the Blackhawks was announced as one of three finalists for the Selke Trophy this week. Chicago captain Jonathan Toews joins Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron and Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk as the three finalists.
The other UND player to earn the honor was Troy Murray in 1986. The 2013 winner will be announced during the Stanley Cup Final.
The NHL sent out bios of all the finalists.
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Toews played a leading role in helping the runaway Presidents’ Trophy winners rank first overall in team defense (2.02 goals-against per game). He finished third in the NHL in plus-minus with a career-high +28 rating, including a League-leading +21 away from home; shared the overall lead in takeaways with fellow Selke finalist Pavel Datsyuk (56); placed second in the NHL in face-off winning percentage (59.9%, 559-374); and played an average of 1:25 per game on the NHL’s third-ranked penalty-killing unit (87.2%). The Blackhawks captain is a Selke finalist for second time, having finished runner-up to Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler in 2011.
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Bergeron was the NHL’s top face-off man in 2012-13, winning 62.1% of his draws, as the Bruins ranked third League-wide in team defense (2.21 goals-against per game). He ranked sixth overall and led the Bruins in plus-minus with a +24 rating and played an average of 2:12 per game with his team shorthanded, slightly more than his per-game average on the Boston power-play (2:10). Bergeron is in quest of a repeat Selke win, having claimed the trophy last season in his first appearance as a finalist.
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
Datsyuk’s all-around game helped the Red Wings place fifth in the NHL in team defense (2.29 goals-against per game) — their stingiest performance since the 2007-08 Stanley Cup championship season. Datsyuk tied for the League lead in takeaways (56), topped the Red Wings in plus-minus (+21) and posted a 55.0% face-off winning percentage (488-399). The three-time Selke winner is a finalist for the sixth consecutive year, surpassing the streaks of Montreal’s Guy Carbonneau (1986 through 1990) and Bob Gainey (1978 through 1982) as the longest since the award was introduced in 1978.