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Aleksander Barkov wins Selke Trophy

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Panthers captain named NHL’s best defensive forward

Tampa Bay Lightning v Florida Panthers Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Florida Panthers centre Aleksander Barkov has been named the recipient of the 2020-21 Frank J. Selke Trophy, awarded annually ‘to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.’

It is the second piece of major hardware for Barkov, who won the 2019 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy awarded annually ‘to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.’

Barkov becomes the second Finland-born player to win the award after Jere Lehtinen (1998, 1999, 2003). Other finalists for this year’s Selke Trophy were Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins) and Mark Stone of the Vegas Golden Knights.

Barkov appeared in 50 regular season games with Florida in 2020-21, registering 26 goals and 58 points. The 25-year-old led the Cats in goals, even-strength goals (18), even-strength points (38) and shots on goal (176), while leading the team’s forwards in takeaways (39) and total ice time (1,046:52).

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound native of Tampere, Finland, registered a career-high 54.9 faceoff win percentage, taking 1,026 total faceoffs. Barkov owned a 59.0 offensive zone faceoff win percentage and 53.2 defensive zone faceoff win percentage. The Panthers captain is one of just 10 NHL forwards to take over 1,000 faceoffs this season. Of the 10 forwards, Barkov had the fewest games played. His 20:56 average time on ice per game ranked ninth among NHL forwards.

Congratulations, Sasha!