Should the NHL rename the best defensive forward trophy the Selke-Bergeron Trophy?
BET À DAY
For the sixth time, Patrice Bergeron will surely win the Frank J. Selke trophy this year, awarded to the best defensive forward. As long as you see his name engraved on it so often, couldn't we do something more?
Patrice Bergeron is not only the best defensive forward of his generation nor an excellent captain. He is much more than that.
The older ones will say that the younger ones haven't seen the Gaineys, Carbonneaus, Clarkes and Gilmours.
They were great players. But it was another world. I would have liked to have seen Bob Gainey try to slow down Connor McDavid without being able to hook or hold him.
Granted, it must have been unpleasant when Guy Carbonneau and Bobby Clarke decided that you wasn't going to touch the puck on a given night.
It's going faster
But today, it doesn't work like that anymore. The game is going way too fast.
Defensive players can tell Nathan MacKinnon, Artemi Panarin or Jack Hughes that they are going to have a nightmare. These guys don't care. They're too fast and too strong.
It takes smart, elite skaters to keep up with them.
Gainey has won four Selke Trophies. Guy Carbonneau? Three. With five, Patrice Bergeron is already the one who has won it the most times.
What is even more exceptional in the case of Bergeron is that he is a star on the attack too. And to generate attack, you obviously have to take risks that can compromise your defense.
Do you remember Jacob De La Rose? He was strong defensively. So strong that he scored… 13 goals in 242 NHL games.
He has to be brilliant
Back to the serious stuff. Does Bergeron have to be brilliant for it to work so often, his risk-taking?
Would Bergeron have accumulated 100 points in one season if he had wanted to? I believe him. But he prefers to win his team before inflating his personal statistics.
Mark Scheifele of the Jets has 42 goals this year. He finished with a differential of -16. Jordan Kyrou of the Blues scored 37 times. He finished the season at -38. Ovechkin, with 42 goals, finished it at -16.
Bergeron finished the historic Bruins campaign at +35. He is at +134 for the last five years.
Jordan Staal, tipped as the Quebecer to win the Selke trophy this year, finished at +7. He is +29 in the last five years.
Guy Carbonneau has shown a differential of +30 for the total of his last five seasons in Montreal.
And remember that Bergeron operates at a career rate of 0.8 points per game. This is far superior to great defensive players who have often touched the Selke Trophy, such as Bob Gainey (0.43), Guy Carbonneau (0.50) or Jere Lehtinen (0.58).
The only exception is Pavel Datsyuk (0.96), who won three Selke Trophies. But Datsyuk is far from having had the same defensive impact as Bergeron with his team.
Six Selke? It won't happen again
For all these reasons, is Patrice Bergeron the greatest defensive player in history? It doesn't look that bad. How many other players will win six Selke Trophies? It may never happen again.
Frank J. Selke played an important role in hockey. Former general manager of the Maple Leafs and the Canadiens, he greatly contributed to the arrival of Jean Béliveau in Montreal.
But Bergeron, who will forever remain a hockey legend by the way in which he redefined the role of a defensive forward, also deserves to see his name attached to this trophy forever.
The Selke-Bergeron trophy sounds good.