Philadelphia Flyers: Sean Couturier wins first Selke Trophy

It has been a long time in the making for the Flyers forward, but Sean Couturier has finally taken home the Selke Trophy.

The Flyers found themselves nominated for three NHL Awards this year. They had a Masteron finalist, a Jack Adams finalist, and a Selke finalist. While they didn’t take home the first two awards, their best chance actually came with Sean Couturier‘s nominee. And for the first time in his career, he won the Selke.

The Selke Trophy is given “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.” It is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. The other two finalists were Ryan O’Reilly and Patrice Bergeron. Both have won the award before, O’Reilly having just come off a season where he took home the award. Bergeron has taken it home four times in his career.

Not only is this the first time Couturier has won, but he also becomes just the third ever Flyers player to win the award. Bobby Clarke (1982-83) and Dave Poulin (1986-87) are the other two.

It was a landslide and as close to unanimous victory as Couturier could get. He tallied 117 first-place votes, Bergeron the closet to him with 21 first-place votes. That equaled out to 1,424 points for Couturier and 884 for Bergeron. Only seven voters didn’t have him on their ballots, an interesting decision. It truly was Couturier’s award to lose.

The numbers speak for themselves. He was the best in the entire league when it came to faceoffs. He led the entire league with at 59.62%. He had the second-best percentage in the defensive zone at 59.5%. And he was around the same mark in the offensive zone (59.1%). Talk about a model of consistency.

The Flyers were excellent at driving play with Couturier on the ice and keeping chances away from their own netminder. He finished the regular season with a 56.29 CF% and a 55.43 FF% at even strength, both top marks on his team. The Flyers had a good chance to score when Couturier was on the ice, evidenced by his 54.75 XGF%.

He ranked first among all Flyers forwards in ice time per game and lead the way in shorthanded time as well. He had the best goals-for percentage at 61.64 among all Flyers to have played with the team the entire season.

And while this isn’t all on the players in front of the goaltender, Couturier was solid at not being on the ice for a goal against. He was out there for about 2.1 goals against per-60 minutes. Couturier was also strong at outplaying his opponents. Said opponents averaged a 47.5 CF%/60. That was actually seventh in the league among all forwards.

Bergeron actually outpaced Couturier in a few categories mentioned above. Those included his 57.26 CF%, 56.88 FF%, and 58.24 xGF%.  O’Reilly found himself that way as well. He had Couturier beat in GA/60 with 1.96. And he led the entire league with a 45.15 CA/60.

But it was a combination of Couturier’s solid stats across the board that earned him his first Selke Trophy. It is the first time since 2011 that a Flyers player has taken home an individual award. And it probably isn’t the last time in his career that Couturier will find his name on the top of the list for the Selke.