Just as Chicago Blackhawks fans were smarting about Jonathan Toews’ snub for a Hart Trophy nomination, they have something to rejoice: Toews is a finalist for this year’s Frank J. Selke Trophy, which honors the NHL’s best defensive forward. His fellow nominees are the Detroit Red Wings’ Pavel Datsyuk and the Boston Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron.
Leadrship abilities aside, the Blackhawks captain is a constant, undeniable force on the team. Along with his 23 goals (tying him with Patrick Kane for most goals on the team), he was second in the league behind Bergeron with a 59.9 faceoff percentage and 559 faceoffs won. He also had 56 takeaways, which ties him with Datsyuk at the top of the league.
And it’s not just faceoffs and takeaways where Toews excels. His average time on the ice was 19:20 per game, and he averaged 1:25 minutes of shorthanded ice time. Out of the three Selke finalists, Toews is the only one whose goals and plus/minus (+28) were both above 20 for the season.
This isn’t the first time Toews has been nominated. He was a finalist for the award two years ago but placed second behind Ryan Kesler. If he should win this year, he’ll join Dirk Graham and Troy Murray as Selke winners for the Blackhawks.
Many are wondering if Toews’ nomination is a consolation prize for his Hart Trophy snub. Perhaps it’s a combination of that and his obvious talent. But as much as I’d love to see Toews win the Selke outright, I wish Bergeron and Toews could share the honor, because they both deserve it.