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Never In Doubt: Sasha Barkov Wins Second Selke Trophy in Rout



Barkov selke
Florida Panthers captain Sasha Barkov holds the Frank J. Selke Trophy in 2021. He was announced as winner of the award for the second time on Saturday. // NHL/FHN Graphic

For the second time in his career, Florida Panthers captain Sasha Barkov is the winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy which goes to the top defensive-forward in the NHL.

Barkov, who won the franchise’s first Selke in 2021, was named winner of the award on Saturday night.

The other finalists were Auston Matthews and Carolina’s Jordan Staal.

The voting, by the PHWA, was not close.

Barkov got 165 of the 194 first-place votes.

Somehow, two PHWA voters left Barkov off their ballot completely.

Linemate Sam Reinhart, who finished fourth, had 12 first-place votes which was more than anyone other than Barkov and twice as many as Matthews and Staal had combined.

“It means a lot,” Barkov said when it was announced he was a Selke finalist last month. “Every year, I just try to do my job and try to be as good as possible both offensively and defensively.

“Playing on a good team with good systems and great, great teammates certainly helps too. It means a lot. It’s a great thing, for sure.”

Barkov’s tough defensive play was certainly on display Friday night.

With 2:52 left in a tie game, Barkov blocked a shot from David Pastrnak with his left hand — all but saving the game for Florida as Sergei Bobrovsky was down and the net was open for Boston’s best shooter.

Moments later, Gus Forsling scored and the Panthers knocked out the Boston Bruins with a 2-1 win.

Yes, Sasha Barkov certainly is deserving of this Selke Trophy.

“You want to talk about the highs and lows of emotions on the bench … that’s a gaping net,’’ Paul Maurice said. “That’s a legitimate block. … I think his Game 5 was fantastic. We lose the game, so it doesn’t get noticed. Is he a powerful, dominant man. He plays a different game than he has ever played. He was so good at both ends. Hopefully he’s the guy.”

Said Matthew Tkachuk: “I don’t even have words for what he’s doing for our team right now. He’s playing the best hockey in the world right now. He’s the best player in the world right now. Both ends of the ice. That shot block shows it. He has scored all the goals, he has made the plays, has had the puck the whole series. But that shot block shows the completion of his game. It saves the game. Now, we’re on to the Big Apple.’’

A finalist in three of the past four years, Barkov is now the 10th player in NHL history to win the Selke — which was first awarded to the “forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game” in 1978 — more than once.

Barkov joins Anze Kopitar, Michael Peca, Sergei Federov and Rod Brind’Amour as two-time winners of the award.

Patrice Bergeron, who retired from the Bruins last year, has won it a record six times — including the previous two seasons.

Bob Gainey is second with four Selke wins.

Barkov selke

Speaking with Florida Hockey Now last month, Barkov said he does not aspire to win awards. But having a defensive game compared to that of Bergeron?

He’ll take that.

“That trophy goes to the best two-way player, and that is certainly what I try to be,” Barkov said.

“I am not trying to win a trophy, but just want to be as good as I can on offense, on defense, in taking faceoffs, working on the penalty kill or on the power play. I want to be as good as I can wherever this team needs me.

“At the same time, Bergeron won six Selkes and I know how hard it was going against him every time we were on the ice together. Going against him was a battle from the opening faceoff. You were not getting a night off if you were playing him. So, winning one was certainly a huge honor.”

NOTE: The Selke Trophy is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. FHN Reporter Colby D. Guy is Chapter Chair for Florida and participated in NHL award voting; FHN Publisher George Richards is no longer a PHWA member due to work with 

For the most in-depth coverage of the Florida Panthers:

  • When: Wednesday, 8 p.m.
  • Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
  • National TV: ESPN
  • Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • Series Schedule — Game 1: Panthers at Rangers, Wednesday, 8 (ESPN); Game 2: Panthers at Rangers, Friday 8 (ESPN); Game 3: Rangers at Panthers, Sunday May 26, 3 (ABC); Game 4: Rangers at Panthers, Tuesday May 28, 8 (ESPN): Game 5*: Panthers at Rangers, Thursday May 30, 8 (ESPN); Game 6*: Rangers at Panthers, Saturday June 1, 8 (ABC); Game 7*: Panthers at Rangers, Monday June 3, 8 (ESPN). (*) — If Necessary.
  • Second Round, Florida d. Boston 4-2 — Game 1: Boston 5, @Florida 1; Game 2: @Florida 6, Boston 1; Game 3: Florida 6, @Boston 2; Game 4: Florida 3, @Boston 2; Game 5: Boston 2, @Florida 1; Game 6: Florida 2, @Boston 1.
  • How They Got Here: Florida d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2; Rangers d. Washington 4-0, Carolina 4-2.
  • Last Season vs. Rangers — Regular Season: Rangers won 3-0
  • This Season (Panthers Won 2-1) — At Florida: Panthers 4 Rangers 3 (Dec. 29). At MSG: Panthers 4, Rangers 2 (March 4); Rangers 4, Panthers 3 OT (March 23).
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Rangers lead 61-34-8, 6 ties
  • Postseason History: Rangers Lead 1-0 (1997 1st)

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