2013 NHL Awards: Selke to Chicago?

With the best record in the league, the Chicago Blackhawks will rightfully get a lot of attention when the NHL hands out their annual awards this summer.

Over the next few days, we’re going to look at how the Hawks stack up for each of the major awards, and discuss whether or not someone from Chicago should take home the hardware.

Today, we’ll begin by looking at the Frank J. Selke Trophy.

Toews Kesler

The Frank J. Selke Trophy is an annual award given to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game, and is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season.

Only four players have won the Selke in the seven seasons since the last lockout. Carolina’s Rod Brind’Amour won the award in both 2006 and 2007, followed by three consecutive years of the award being given to Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk. Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler and Boston’s Patrice Bergeron have won the last two, respectively.

Those four players are all centers, the position that has dominated the Selke. Since Dirk Graham won the award in 1991, the only non-center to win the Selke was Dallas’ Jere Lehtinen, who won it three times.  And this year, there are four excellent centers to consider once again.

Pavel Datsyuk will be in the running for the Selke until he retires, and this year he should certainly be a finalist once again. He has won 55.2 percent of his faceoffs this year, ranks second in the NHL with 48 takeaways, and has blocked 29 shots in 41 games. He has taken 33.1 percent of Detroit’s faceoffs this year, and has a CorsiOn of 12.72.

Another center to keep in mind is Carolina’s Eric Staal. He has taken 32.5 percent of Carolina’s faceoffs, winning 52.7 percent of them. He ranks fourth in the NHL with 42 takeaways in 41 games and is tied for seventh in the NHL with 44 points. Staal has blocked 22 shots, but has a CorsiOn of only 3.82.

Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar is a magnificent player that is often taken for granted or ignored because he plays on the West Coast. Of the four centers we’re considering, his CorsiOn of 27.01 is by far the best. In 41 games to date, Kopitar has 21 takeaways and 22 blocked shots, while winning 53.7 percent of his faceoffs. Kopitar has taken 32.6 percent of the draws in LA this season.

The third center to consider this season is Jonathan Toews. He, like Staal, is tied for seventh in the league with 44 points. But Toews leads the NHl with 52 takeaways, is second in the NHL (behind Bergeron) winning 60.4 percent of his faceoffs, and has been responsible for 33.4 percent of all Chicago faceoffs this season (the eighth-highest percentage in the league to date). Toews has also blocked 15 shots, and has a CorsiOn of 14.89.

A wild card that must be considered for the award this year is not a center, but is a member of the Blackhawks. Marian Hossa has had another magnificent year in every zone, and is currently third in the NHL with 45 takeaways in only 35 games. His CorsiOn of 16.39 is the best of the Hawks’ regular forwards.

selkeThe Winner: Toews

There’s no question this should be the year Toews is finally recognized as the league’s best defensive forward. He was nominated for the award in 2011, the year Kesler won, but has taken his game to another level this year.

Toews’ plus-21 on the road was not only this season’s best in the NHL, but it is the best road plus-minus since the 2009-10 season.

An argument will be made that Toews will receive consideration for the Hart only because Sidney Crosby has missed time due to injury, and those arguments have their place (and will be dealt with later this week). But there is no question who should win the Selke this year, injuries or not. Toews has been dominant, and deserves the award. For our money, Kopitar should be the runner-up, with Datsyuk the third finalist.

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9 Responses to 2013 NHL Awards: Selke to Chicago?

  1. AMalkusak says:

    Thanks Tab and agree with your choice for the Selke. For those of us that are hockey stupid, how is the CorsiOn calculated and what is it’s significance? Thanks!

  2. Sr. Brad says:

    Great series of articles Tab, starting with the Selke…thanks.

    Toews should have won this award already…this will the year, finally.

  3. alikatze says:

    Pleased to see a discussion of trophies and where the Hawks might get one (or two, or three…). Thanks, Tab. Looking forward to the rest of your thoughts on the others.

  4. Debbie Guidi says:

    Thank you Tab for this breakdown. I agree with your choices, Johanthan Toews should absolutely win this year. I look forward to your thoughts on the other awards.

  5. Marilyn Cali says:

    Would also like to know what the CorsiOn score is, and how it is calculated.

    Thanks.

  6. McKay says:

    Corsi is the aggregate of shots directed at net for versus against while you’re on the ice (like a +/- but for shots). The thing to get your head around is Corsi measures ANY shot directed at net. If Hossa takes a shot that screams over the cross bar, that’s a +1. If his shot is blocked, that’s still a +1. And so on and so forth (and and on the other end when Seabs blocks a shot that’s a -1 to the on-ice player’s Corsi).

    CorsiOn is the score of you and your teammates on the ice. CorsiOff is the Corsi score of your teammates while you’re not playing (so if your CorsiOff is really high… could be a measure that you suck. Or could be a measure that you play against tough competition.). Then there is Corsi Relative to your team and relative to your competition.

    Advanced hockey stat nerds say the CorsiOn is the best single indicator of performance b/c if you are generating shots towards goal, you’re controlling the tempo of the game, scoring goals, and ultimately winning games.

    Speaking of Corsi, what has made me nervous about the Kings all season is that they’ve dominated the Corsi score with 9 players in double-digits and the Kopitar line is at the top of the chart. The Hawks have 6 players in double-digits.

  7. McKay says:

    Oh the other thing I wanted to say on Toews… +TWENTY-SEVEN… third best in the league atm and 12 better than the next best Selke candidate, Datsyuk (10 better than Hoss).

    And to counter my above comment on the LAK’s high Corsi scores, the Hawks dominate the leader board of +/-, which would be expected given their team +/- is 13 clear of the Penguins.

  8. JimA says:

    I love JT, but Hossa wins the award on the merits. He’s the lead forechecker on his line, and the first guy backchecking. He overwhelms his opponents with his speed and uses his size along the boards to take pucks away. You want to look at Corsi, fine with me. It’s still Hossa for the win.

  9. Matt says:

    Corsi is such a flawed stat because it doesn’t take quality of chances into account. A blocked shot along the boards is the same detriment as leaving a guy wide open in the slot. In real terms, you could block three shots and go down and score on one shot and be -2 or you could leave a guy wide open and give up a goal and be -1. There are currently no advanced stats that do any justice to how a player is performing in a game as fluid as hockey

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