The Frank J. Selke Trophy is awarded annually to the best defensive forward in the NHL. This year, the Vegas Golden Knights’ own Mark Stone was named a finalist for the award, as were Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins and Ryan O’Reilly from the Stanley Cup-winning St. Louis Blues. A winger hasn’t won the Selke since the 2002-03 season. Stone, of course, is a winger, while Bergeron and O’Reilly are both centers.
And for the 14th season in a row, a center won the award.
O’Reilly is taking home the hardware, but Stone was not far behind him in the Selke voting. At all.
Play "Gloria." In a mild upset, St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly won the Selke Trophy for best defensive forward, narrowly edging out Vegas Golden Knights right wing (and crowd favorite) Mark Stone. This is the 15th straight... https://t.co/FUPxOeym6X pic.twitter.com/2LiU0U7uA7— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) June 20, 2019
Even though Stone didn’t end up winning the award, it’s pretty amazing just how close he was with O’Reilly in the voting. Looking at the numbers, it’s not too hard to see why.
Stone led the entire NHL with 122 takeaways in 2018-19 while picking up 73 points in 77 games. Believe it or not, Stone’s 122 takeaways didn’t even set a career high — he logged a whopping 128 takeaways during the 2015-16 season. In comparison, O’Reilly and Bergeron only registered 94 and 42 takeaways this past season, respectively.
If any winger is going to win the Selke one day, it’ll likely be Stone. And considering just how tight the race was this season between Stone and O’Reilly, it wouldn’t be all that shocking to see him (or maybe even another winger) take home the hardware in the not-too-distant future.