Aleksander Barkov won the Frank J. Selke Trophy on Saturday. The award is presented annually to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

“I think it starts with the team, obviously,” Barkov said. “We have great systems, defensive-minded systems. So, we always think about the defensive side first. And then, obviously, you want to -- as everyone else -- you want to play with the puck as much as possible and play in the offensive zone.

“And offense is usually the best defense. So, I think, as a team we’ve done a pretty good job with that, so it helps individually as well.”

The center was a key factor in helping the Florida Panthers finish the season tied for first in the NHL in goals-against per game (2.41), the lowest mark in their history.

Barkov took a team-leading 1,100 face-offs and had a winning percentage of 57.3 percent, which was ninth in the NHL among players to play at least 50 games and take at least 500 face-offs.

The 28-year-old was fifth among NHL forwards in plus-minus with a plus-33 rating, the second-highest in his 11 NHL seasons. The puck was in the offensive zone for 46.3 percent of the time Barkov was on the ice at even strength according to NHL EDGE tracking data, ranking in the 97th percentile among NHL skaters, and in the defensive zone for just 35.3 percent of the time, also in the 97th percentile.

He was second among Florida forwards in ice time per game (19:38), including 3:31 on the power play and 1:59 short-handed.

Barkov awarded his second career Frank J. Selke Trophy

The Panthers captain is a Selke Trophy finalist for the third time in the past four seasons. He became the first Selke winner in Panthers history in 2020-21 and placed third in voting in 2021-22.

“It means a lot, of course,” Barkov said when he was announced as a finalist. “Every year I’m just trying to do my job and be as good as possible defensively, offensively. Obviously, playing on a good team with good systems and great teammates, that helps too. So, obviously, it means a lot, so it’s a great thing for sure.”

Barkov helped the Panthers (52-24-6) finish first in the Atlantic Division this season and clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fifth straight season. They will play the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final. Game 1 is Wednesday at New York (8 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ESPN, SN, TVAS, CBC).

“Well it’s going to be, again, it’s going to be a fun battle," Barkov said. "Like against [the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins] those were really hard battles, and I expect the exact same thing against the Rangers. A whole different team than Boston, but of course it’s a great challenge for us and we’re really looking forward to it.”

Centers Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Jordan Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes were the other finalists.

Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, who retired after the 2022-23 NHL season, won the Selke Trophy last season.

The Selke Trophy was the third award to be handed out this postseason; Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba won the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award on Tuesday and Connor Ingram, a goalie for the Arizona Coyotes this season, won the Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication on Wednesday.

Three more awards will be handed out in May, with nine more coming in June, including five at the NHL Awards at the Fontainebleau Las Vegas on June 27 (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, SN).

Winners will be announced by national rightsholders ESPN, Sportsnet and TVA Sports during pregame programming ahead of Stanley Cup Playoff games, at the NHL Awards, and at the 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft in Las Vegas on June 28. ESPN's announcements will be made on “The Point” leading into its game coverage.

The remaining schedule of announcements, which is subject to change, is as follows:

Wednesday, May 22: Jack Adams Award

“To the coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success.”

Finalists: Rick Bowness, WPG; Andrew Brunette, NSH; Rick Tocchet, VAN

Tuesday, May 28: King Clancy Memorial Trophy

“To the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community."

Thursday, May 30: Lady Byng Memorial Trophy

“To the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

Finalists: Auston Matthews, TOR; Elias Pettersson, VAN; Jaccob Slavin, CAR

Monday, June 10: Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award

“To the League’s most outstanding general manager.”

(Finalists to be announced the week of May 20-26)

Thursday, June 13: Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award presented by Hyundai (Canada)

"To an individual who – through the game of hockey – has positively impacted his or her community, culture or society."

Finalists: Mark Burgin (Vancouver, B.C.); Mark DeMontis (Toronto, Ont.); Allen Hierlihy (Hamilton, Ont.)

Thursday, June 27: Calder Memorial Trophy

“To the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition.”

Finalists: Connor Bedard, CHI; Brock Faber, MIN; Luke Hughes, NJD

Thursday, June 27: Hart Memorial Trophy

“To the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team.”

Finalists: Nikita Kucherov, TBL; Nathan MacKinnon, COL; Connor McDavid, EDM

Thursday, June 27: James Norris Memorial Trophy

“To the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.”

Finalists: Quinn Hughes, VAN; Roman Josi, NSH; Cale Makar, COL

Thursday, June 27: Ted Lindsay Award

“To the most outstanding player as voted by fellow members of the NHLPA.”

Finalists: Nikita Kucherov, TBL; Nathan MacKinnon, COL; Auston Matthews, TOR

Thursday, June 27: Vezina Trophy

“To the goaltender adjudged to be the best at his position.”

Finalists: Sergei Bobrovsky, FLA; Thatcher Demko, VAN; Connor Hellebuyck, WPG

Friday, June 28: Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award presented by Discover (U.S.)

"To an individual who – through the game of hockey – has positively impacted his or her community, culture or society."

Finalists: Jerry DeVaul (Colorado Springs, Colo.); Kelsey McGuire (Philadelphia, Pa.); Estela Rivas-Bryant (El Segundo, Calif.)

Friday, June 28: E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence

“To the NHL Draft prospect who best exemplifies commitment to excellence through strength of character, competitiveness and athleticism."

Click here to access the 2024 NHL Awards Information Guide, which features details on this season’s finalists as well as all-time voting histories and winners for each NHL Trophy.

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