Panthers’ Aleksander Barkov wins Selke trophy for best defensive forward – .

Panthers’ Aleksander Barkov wins Selke trophy for best defensive forward – .

NEW YORK – Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov won the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward for the first time in an eight-year career.
Barkov was announced as the winner of the award on Friday night before the Vegas Golden Knights faced the Montreal Canadiens in Game 3 of a semi-final series. He was a finalist for the first time.

The 25-year-old Finn became just the fifth player in league history to win both the Selke and Lady Byng for gentlemanly conduct. He won the Lady Byng in 2019.

Barkov was ninth among forwards with an average of just under 21 minutes per game and 10th in the league with a 54.9 winning percentage in face-offs.

Boston center Patrice Bergeron and Vegas winger Mark Stone were the other finalists for the Selke, which is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez offered his support to Stone after the team’s early morning practice on Friday.

“He’s just a really, really smart, well-rounded player,” Martinez said of Stone. “He always picks passes, knocks down passes, strips guys – things like that. He’s a 200-foot player. “

The same goes for Barkov, who helped Florida improve their team’s defense, allowing up half a goal a game less than last season, and also amassed 58 points in 50 games. The Panthers lost to defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay in six games in the first round. Barkov had seven points in this series.


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