Since entering the league in 2003, Patrice Bergeron has been one of the most productive and consistent two-way forwards. The 18-year veteran has been a consistent 20-goal scorer, team leader, and one of the best defensive forwards to ever play the game. When a fan or player thinks of the Selke Trophy, they don’t think of the person it’s named after, Frank J. Selke; they think of Patrice Bergeron. The award is given annually to “the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.” The voters are members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. If Bergeron beats out the two other finalists in Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov and Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm, he will win his fifth becoming the only player in league history to do so.
The Streak Continues
With his nomination this year, Bergeron locked in his 11th straight season as a top-three finalist for the trophy. He has won the award four times (2011-12, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2016-17), which is tied with Montreal Canadiens legend Bob Gainey for the most ever. What makes Bergeron’s streak even more special and impressive is that it is now a new NHL record as the Boston Captain broke a record held by none other than the legendary Wayne Gretzky. He surpassed The Great One’s run of 10 consecutive years (1980 through 1989) of top three Hart Trophy finishes as the longest ever for a voted NHL Award. Gretzky won the Hart nine times in those ten years.
Who Was Frank J. Selke?
Frank J. Selke was a Canadian-born hockey executive who began his career in the late 1920s. Selke was the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens. The Selke Trophy was the fifth and last of the major NHL awards to be introduced that have been named after General Managers and owners of the Original Six teams, with the other awards being the Art Ross Trophy, James Norris Memorial Trophy, Conn Smythe Trophy, and Jack Adams Award. Even though these awards are named after historic greats that made a significant impact on the start of the league, it’s time for a change. Once Patrice Bergeron retires, whether it be this offseason or in a few years, the time to change is now. Renaming the Selke Trophy to the Patrice Bergeron Trophy is a no-brainer as Bergeron truly represents what it means to be “the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.”
While many have a hard time accepting change, this is what instance that should be easy. The analytics and Bergeron’s play game after game over 18 seasons speaks for itself. He truly demonstrates at the highest level what it means to be the most dominant defensive forward. Bergeron has had a Hall of Fame career, and a big part of that has been his defensive metrics. There is no one better than Bergeron when it comes to a shut-down two-way forward in the NHL, especially since Bergeron has done it for so long and while the league has changed the style of play multiple times. While it may take some time to get the change to happen, the league should sit down and reconsider it as they should begin to honor the greats that have played the game in more recent years.
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