For a record-breaking fifth time in his NHL career, Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron has won the Frank J. Selke Trophy, per a team announcement. The Selke goes to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game, as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. A likely Hall of Famer when all is said and done, this is Bergeron’s first Selke since the 2016-17 season, however, his reputation throughout his career as an elite two-way center has not wavered in the slightest in that time.
In addition to his five Selke Trophies, Bergeron has not finished outside the top three in Selke voting since 2010-11, when he finished fourth for the award. Bergeron’s 11 consecutive seasons as a finalist are the most of any player for any award, surpassing Wayne Gretzky’s 10 straight seasons as a Hart Trophy finalist. Perhaps his best skill, Bergeron was again spectacular in the faceoff circle this season, leading the league in faceoff percentage at 61.9% and in faceoffs won, with 991. His 1,600 faceoffs taken in 2021-22 was second in the NHL only to Leon Draisaitl. On the other side of the puck, Bergeron was again a key contributor for Boston, tallying 25 goals and 40 assists in 73 games this season to go with a plus-26 rating.
Following Bergeron in the voting were a host of familiar names, including Elias Lindholm, Aleksander Barkov, Ryan O’Reilly and Anthony Cirelli, rounding out the top five. Barkov and O’Reilly are past winners of the award and like Bergeron are regarded as some of the best two-way players in the sport. Cirelli has yet to win the award, but is among the players considered most likely to win the award who have not yet. Lindholm’s second-place finish is the best in the history of the Calgary Flames, and this was his third season in the past four receiving Selke votes, per Flames Nation’s Ryan Pike.
The award comes amid a time of speculation about Bergeron’s future in the NHL. While still an elite player, Bergeron is a pending UFA with the Boston Bruins, who do have to make some tough decisions when it comes to the salary cap. Soon to be 37, the Bruins’ captain has played 1,216 NHL regular-seasons games and another 167 playoff games spanning 18 campaigns, including a 2011 Stanley Cup. Still being capable, if not supremely talented, might indicate that Bergeron would want to continue to play and chase another Stanley Cup. However, being on top of his game, evidenced by the record-breaking Selke Trophy, could also give Bergeron incentive to retire if he so chooses, allowing him to go out on his own terms.