NHL award season continues.
The NHL announced the finalists for the 2022 Frank J. Selke Trophy on Tuesday, with Florida's Aleksander Barkov, Boston's Patrice Bergeron, and Calgary's Elias Lindholm being the three contenders to take home the hardware.
Barkov is the defending champion, in fact, capturing his first-ever Selke last season after landing in the top-10 in voting on three prior occasions. The 26-year-old only continued his torrid defensive play in 2021-22, generating a whopping 56.87 percent expected goal share at even-strength while playing over 20 minutes per night against top competition for one of the best teams in the entire NHL.
Barkov has a legitimate shot at keeping his hold on the Selke for another year. But he'll have to contend with some serious competition.
That competition goes by the name of Patrice Bergeron, who has taken home the honor four times of his own while finishing in the top three in voting for the past 10 straight seasons, and in the top five for the past 12. The NHL should practically name the Selke after Bergeron at this point, really. The Bruins captain is more or less the standard that all modern defensive forwards look to emulate, with his 2021-22 season being no different.
At age 36, Bergeron took his game to another level, generating an absurd 69.19 percent expected-goal share and 66.71 percent scoring-chance share at even strength while logging over 18 minutes per night and maintaining a marvelous offensive pace.
When Bergeron is on the ice, opponents rarely get the chance to score. And that's what defense is all about, isn't it?
Whereas the first two finalists are no surprise, Lindholm comes in as a left-field nominee. The Flames forward had a marvelous season in 2021-22, logging nearly 20 minutes per night on Calgary's top line while doing some serious damage at even strength to the tune of a dazzling 58.45 percent expected goal share and 59.15 percent scoring chance share.
While Lindholm earned praise for his offensive performance this season, his defensive game grew leaps and bounds, making him a worthy option to round out the finalists.
Stay tuned to find out who comes out on top.