TORONTO – The Detroit Red Wings were one of the best defensive teams in the NHL this season and Pavel Datsyuk was a big reason why.
The 29-year-old Russian led the entire league with a plus-41 rating and was recognized Thursday with the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward.
Datsyuk took home the award for the first time after beating Red Wings teammate Henrik Zetterberg and John Madden of the New Jersey Devils in voting by selected members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
He had the chance to take home more hardware later in the evening as a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy, which is given to the league’s most gentlemenly player.
The Red Wings commitment to defence helped make them the best team in the NHL all season as they won both the Presidents’ Trophy and Stanley Cup. Datsuyk and Zetterberg helped lead the way up front.
Datsyuk finished the season with 31 goals and 97 points for his best offensive season but also led the NHL in takeways with 144. That’s an amazing 67 per cent more than Mike Modano, who was next best with 86.
He also the topped Red Wings forwards with 42 blocked shots.
Zetteberg finished the season with a plus-30 rating and averaged more ice time than any of Detroit’s other forwards. He was given the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP last week.
Madden received a Selke nomination for the fourth time after leading the Devils with three short-handed goals and ranking seventh in the league by winning 53.7 per cent of his faceoffs. He won the award in 2001.