Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron has always been considered one of the top two-way players in the NHL. He has had the reputation of playing like a veteran, even though he is only 26 years of age. With his youth came great poise, leadership, and a Stanley Cup championship.
On Wednesday night, Bergeron added another piece of hardware to his repertoire. He was crowned as the Frank J. Selke Award winner for being the best defensive forward in the league. The other nominees for the award were David Backes of the St. Louis Blues and Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings, who had won three straight Selke Trophies from 2008-2010.
Bergeron led the league in plus/minus with +36. He also led the Bruins in assists with 42 and finished second in points with 64. Bergeron possesses a knack for winning face-offs as he has become one of the most prolific face-off winners in the league. During the 2011-12 season, he led the league with 973 face-off wins, which was good for a 59.3% win percentage.
It took eight years for Bergeron to even get nominated for this award, let alone win it. He is a player who plays on a team where there is no 50-goal scorer. The Bruins put an emphasis on defense and that is where the Quebec native flourishes. He makes his teammates better whenever he is on the ice. In fact, the top five players who led the league in plus/minus wore the Black and Gold.
Bergeron is only the second Bruin to win the Selke Trophy; Steve Kasper won the award back in 1982.
Bergeron has been with the Bruins’ organization since 2003 when he was drafted 45th overall to Boston. During his 537 games as a Bruin, he has recorded 143 goals and 258 assists for 401 points.
The Selke Award will only be the first of many long, overdue honors coming the way of the young, playmaking center. Perhaps a few All-Star game appearances are on the horizon? Maybe a Hart Trophy? What about another Stanley Cup? Not one of those possibilities seems unattainable at this point for the future captain of the Boston Bruins.