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May 5, 2024 12:43 pm

Leafs’ Auston Matthews first-time finalist for Selke Trophy

barkov auston matthews

Centers Aleksander Barkov, Jordan Staal and Auston Matthews are the finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, the NHL announced Sunday.

The award is given annually to the top defensive forward in the league and voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. The winner will be named at a later date.

Barkov, of the Florida Panthers, is a finalist for the third time in four seasons. He earned the honor in 2020-21 and finished third the following season.

He won 57.3 percent of faceoffs (630 of 1,100) in the 2023-24 season. The 28-year-old native of Finland led Florida in takeaways (61) and blocked 50 shots, fourth among Panthers forwards. He tallied 80 points (23 goals, 57 assists) in 73 games.

Barkov’s Panthers (52-24-6) will host the Boston Bruins in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs beginning Monday.

Staal, 35, is seeking to become the first member of the Carolina Hurricanes to win the Selke award since the team’s current coach, Rod Brind’Amour, won following the 2006-07 season. Staal is a two-time finalist, first being named in the 2009-10 season as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He finished third in the voting.

This season, Staal played in 80 games and posted 30 points (10 goals, 20 assists). He took the 14th-most faceoffs in the NHL (1,375) and had a 58.1 percent face-off percentage (58.1) among players to take at least 500 face-offs. He had 25 takeaways and tied for the lead in hits (142) among Carolina forwards.

The Hurricanes (52-23-7) open second-round play on Sunday against the Rangers in New York.

Matthews, a first-time Selke finalist, also is a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy, given for both skill and gentlemanly play on the ice. The Toronto Maple Leafs center led the NHL with 69 goals in 81 games and tallied a career-high 107 points. He won 53.5 percent of faceoffs (705 of 1,319), and he was second among NHL forwards with 93 blocked shots and 85 takeaways.

The Bruins eliminated the Maple Leafs (46-26-10) from the playoffs with their Game 7 first-round win on Saturday.

Should Matthews, 26, win the Selke Trophy, he’d be the first Toronto player to win the award since Doug Gilmour in 1992-93.

Bruins center Patrice Bergeron won the Selke Trophy last season. He retired in the offseason.

–Field Level Media

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