David Backes Named a Selke Finalist
David Backes of the St. Louis Blues has been named a finalist for the Selke Trophy, an award given to the NHL forward that “best excels in the defensive aspects of the game”. Backes will be up against Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk and Boston’s Patrice Bergeron when the winner is announced on June 20th.
The news, as reported by the team’s official site, mentions that Backes led the NHL in a new statistic called Quality of Competition used by the site Behind the Net. This statistic measures the opposition that Backes skated against on each shift and calculated that of everyone in the NHL, Backes skated against players that had the highest average plus/minus rating.
Backes has stiff competition in Pavel Datsyuk, the Selke winner in three of the past four seasons. Patrice Bergeron is deserving as well, compiling 64 points with a +36 plus/minus rating.
Backes – 24 goals, 30 assists – 54 points (+15).
Datsyuk – 19 goals, 48 assists – 67 points (+21).
Bergeron – 22 goals, 42 assists – 64 points (+36).
Statistically, Backes trails in both points scored and plus/minus. Thankfully, the Selke awards defensive traits that won’t show up in the usual line of statistics. In terms of physical play, Backes tallied 226 hits during the regular season compared to 76 from Datsyuk and 73 from Bergeron. Hitting isn’t an aspect of the Selke but it does demonstrate how Backes effectively uses his body to break up the opponent’s offense while the other two candidates typically rely on their stick or position. Backes combines all three, typically using a crunching hit in the corner to dislodge the puck, causing mayhem in the offensive or defensive zone each time he is on the ice.
The Selke Trophy was last won by a member of the St. Louis Blues in 1989-90 when Rick Meagher took home top honors.