You know how the old adage goes — “Death, taxes and Patrice Bergeron getting named a finalist for the Selke Award.”
Or something like that.
For the ninth consecutive season, Bergeron was tabbed as one of the three finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy — awarded annually to the top defensive forward in the NHL. St. Louis center Ryan O’Reilly and Philadelphia pivot Sean Couturier were named as the other two finalists for the annual accolade.
Once again, Bergeron will be looking to re-write the record books when it comes to defensive excellence — as the B’s veteran previously won the award in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2017, tying Hall of Fame forward Bob Gainey of the Montreal Canadiens for most all-time. Along with his four victories, Bergeron has finished as the runner-up in Selke voting another two times in his career.
"It's always a great recognition," Bergeron said Monday via Zoom. "Obviously you have to also realize, keep in mind it is a team sport, and I wouldn't be here without all my teammates. So it's the same thing every year. It's just one of those things where you can't accomplish that on your own. I've been fortunate enough to play on great teams, great lines, and been coached by great coaches. That's helped me tremendously over the years."
The 2019-20 campaign was once again par for the course when it comes to Bergeron’s usual excellence as a 200-foot-player. The 34-year-old center was once again a defensive anchor for a Bruins club that allowed a league-low 174 goals in 2019-20 — while also adding 31 goals and 56 total points over 61 games. Had the season not been paused in early March, it was all but a certainty that Bergeron would have eclipsed his previous career high in goals scored in a season (32 - both 2015/16 and 2018/2019).
Bergeron, who finished 15th in the NHL in plus/minus (+23), led all Bruins forwards in shifts per game (22.9) while also averaging 1:43 of penalty-kill TOI per game. For the 11th season in a row, Bergeron’s face-off winning percentage eclipsed the 56% mark, with the pivot ranking sixth in the NHL with a 57.9% success rate.
All of the baseline numbers are pretty spectacular, but when compared to the rest of a pretty loaded field of finalists, how good a chance does Bergeron have of finally seizing that record-setting fifth Selke this season?