Bruins’ Bergeron Favorite to Win Record 5th Selke Trophy

Patrice Bergeron has been named a top-three finalist for the Selke Trophy for his defensive efforts during the 2021-22 season. This shouldn’t be a surprise for anybody as something that isn’t discussed very often is the fact that Bergeron has now been named a finalist for the Selke Award in 11 consecutive seasons.

Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Patrice Bergeron has once again been named a finalist for the Selke Trophy after his excellent defensive season with the Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Finishing in the top three of voting for a major award in any professional sport is an impressive feat, but doing so 11 consecutive times is a truly remarkable accomplishment. In being named a finalist this time around, Bergeron would actually move past Wayne Gretzky who was named a finalist for the Hart Trophy in 10 consecutive seasons. Bergeron may not be a perennial Hart Trophy candidate, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a player more important to a team’s success each and every year than No. 37.

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Bergeron, however, hasn’t just been a finalist for the Selke Award in 11 straight years. In fact, he’s tied with Bob Gainey for the most wins of the award (four) and is arguably the best defensive center in the history of the game. There’s a good chance that when all is said and done, he’ll be the most decorated defensive forward in the history of the game as well.

Realistically speaking, the 2021-22 season may have been Bergeron’s most successful defensive season and as far as the field goes, he should be the clear favorite to take home the trophy this year. While there may have been some voting fatigue in years past, it would be difficult to look at the body of work for this past season and argue that Aleksander Barkov or Elias Lindholm had a better defensive year than the Bruins’ captain. This isn’t to say that they didn’t have great seasons – again, finishing in the top three of voting is an impressive feat in and of itself and they’re incredibly deserving. That said, Bergeron was tremendous this season and it would be a pretty significant upset if he didn’t win the award.

As mentioned by JFreshHockey on Twitter, Bergeron had a 1.6 on-ice expected goals against per 60 minutes this past season. The next closest mark was 1.85 which is a testament to how dominant Bergeron was this season. It wasn’t just in the defensive zone that he shined either as he was dominant in all three zones and in all manpower situations.

Nobody has been more consistently dominant defensively in the NHL than Bergeron, but even taking away his past body of work and just accounting for what he did this season, his claim to the trophy would stand on its own. Doing so at 36 years old is impressive, but it’s also entirely unsurprising given how he’s just found a way to get better and better with each passing season.

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Something else that’s impressive and also not surprising is the fact that Bergeron took 1,600 faceoffs in 2021-22 and won a staggering 61.9% of them. This marked the second consecutive season that he’d win over 60% of his draws at the faceoff dot. A big part of Bergeron’s defensive dominance comes from the fact that he is the best player in the NHL at getting possession of the puck for his team off of the faceoff.

Though the odds of Bergeron winning the Selke are seemingly as high as they’ll ever be this season, something a little more up in the air is his future as a player in the NHL.

Bergeron’s NHL Future Still Undetermined

The veteran forward has made it clear that he will never play a game in the NHL with a team outside of the Bruins – something that a few players have said in recent history. What he hasn’t decided on yet, though, is whether or not he’ll play another game with the Bruins or if he’ll hang up his skates and call it a career after his 18th season in the league.

If Bergeron were to retire, he’d go out with 400 career goals (a mark he reached in what would be his final NHL regular-season game), 982 points and his number raised to the rafters of TD Garden with a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame also likely in his future. This doesn’t even include the Stanley Cup he won in 2011, the multiple gold medals he’s amassed in his career or any of the hardware he’s collected along the way in the forms of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award and the aforementioned Selke Awards.

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Retiring with a record-setting fifth Selke Trophy win would certainly be an impressive end to his career; it may not be the end he wants though. It’s also certainly not the end that Bruins fans would want given how beloved Bergeron is by every single member of the Bruins’ fanbase. Still, it would be a tremendous end to what was an all-time career done in a way that every player should aim to emulate if they want to find success in the NHL.

Should Bergeorn decide to return to action during the 2022-23 season, though, there’s no reason to believe he couldn’t compete for the Selke once again and aim to cap off his career with not just another Selke Award, but with another Stanley Cup ring to add to his mantle as well.