Five minutes after the Los Angeles Kings won their first individual regular season award in nearly two decades, they won another one! Anze Kopitar overcame Patrice Bergeron to win the Selke Trophy, awarded to the league's best defensive forward (or two-way forward, as it's come to represent).
Much like the Norris Trophy, this is going to a player who easily could have won this in past seasons, but has built up a leaguewide reputation and edged out a multiple-time winner whose team missed the playoffs. And as good as Bergeron is -- he's really, really good -- it's about time Anze Kopitar got an award to call his own. Somehow he'd missed out on winning anything previously, and might be the only guy to lead the playoffs in scoring multiple times without winning a Conn Smythe. So this is overdue and incredibly well-deserved.
Ryan Kesler juuuuust barely got in ahead of Jonathan Toews for that remaining finalist spot, but it was always a two-man race, and once again, the voting really wasn't that close. A lot of voters clearly also believed it was Anze's time. And why not? He was again one of the league's stingiest defensive forwards (top 15 in Corsi Against/60) despite pulling the team's toughest matchups and playing the sixth-most minutes of any NHL forward, with a +17 penalty differential (Bergeron had a -10).
Selke voting: pic.twitter.com/WkEZZls980— Travis Hughes (@TravisSBN) June 23, 2016
Kopitar becomes the first Slovenian to earn a major honor, the first King to win the Selke, and the first Kings forward to win an individual award since Wayne Gretzky took the Art Ross and Lady Byng home in 1993-94. Congrats, Captain!