The poll results are in and Jonathan Toews has been named the best defensive forward in 2013 after capturing the Frank J. Selke Trophy for the first time in his career.
“When you’re mentioned in the same sentence as guys like Pavel Datsyuk and Patrice Bergeron… to be able to go head-to-head with guys like that in the playoffs and to know them in the past, you understand how much they mean to their teams and how much they contribute offensively and defensively,” he said during a one-on-one interview with Steve Mears on NHL Network. “To be talked about in the same sentence and compared to those guys is amazing, so it’s a special award to win.”
Toews, 25, was also nominated for the Selke after the 2010-2011 season, but lost out to Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks.
During the 2013 NHL season, Toews ranked fifth in goals (23), 13th in points (48), and third in plus-minus (+28) over 47 games. He also led the NHL in key defensive stats such as takeaways (56) and ranked second in faceoffs (59.9%) while also taking 33.6% of the teams faceoffs. Toews was also a key contributor on the penalty kill, which ranked 3rd in the NHL and helped the Blackhawks become the only team in the league to concede less than 100 goals in the season (97).
Toews had the luxury of playing alongside Marian Hossa for the majority of the season, another forward that is arguably worthy of a Selke nomination (ranked 10th in voting), but let’s remember that he also had to compensate for rookie winger Brandon Saad. Patrice Bergeron had Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin on his wings for 2013, while Pavel Datsyuk experienced combinations of Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Dan Cleary, and Justin Abdelkader throughout the year.
Between the three, the stats lay out fairly similar, so I’m surprised “east coast bias” (yes, it does exist) didn’t play a factor in this decision. The voting was a horse race between Toews and Bergeron. Toews winning by a nose hair since he clocked in at 1260 points, Bergeron at 1250 points, and Datsyuk at 737 points.
The NHL will release the winner of the 2013 Calder Trophy, so keep your eyes peeled to see if Brandon Saad can capture another award for the Blackhawks 2013 cabinet.