Sean Couturier won the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best two-way forward.
It’s an award that has been a long time coming for Couturier, who has earned Selke votes in eight of his nine NHL seasons.
He was runner up two years ago to Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings, in what as probably Couturier’s best all-around season.
He was a finalist this time, along with last season’s Selke winner Ryan O’Reilly and four-time winner and nine-time finalist Patrice Bergeron.
“It’s a great honor,” Couturier said. “It wouldn’t be possible without my teammates, coaching staff, management and the whole organization believing in me. I’d like to congratulate Patrice Bergeron and Ryan O’Reilly as well, two great players who I respect a lot and also had great years.”
Pretty typical hockey quote there -always share the award with others and recognize the competition despite being rewarded as the hardest-working player (in terms of playing at both ends of the ice).
Couturier becomes the first Flyer to win a post-season league award since Ian Laperriere won the Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey in 2010-2011. However, he is the first to win an award for his actual production on the ice since Eric Lindros won the Hart Trophy in 1994-95 (Bill Barber won the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year in 2000-01).
The last Flyer to win the Selke was Dave Poulin, in 1986-87, so it’s been a while since there’s been some individual hardware in Philadelphia.
The funny thing is, as good as Coots was this season – and he was good – Bergeron was probably more deserving of this award.
But, Coots winning is not a surprise. We’ve known this was coming since January. That’s because the hockey writers who vote on these awards, in an effort to be more transparent, are now practically see-through.
The writers are releasing a mid-season vote for their awards nowadays, which honestly takes all the fun, excitement and most of the debate, out of the final award.
Want to know who the top three were for the Selke at mid-season?
Writers aren’t really going to change their minds unless one of three things happens:
- One guy has a monster second half that really stands out from the others.
- One guy falls off a cliff and is no longer worthy of consideration.
- Someone gets hurt and misses an extended period of time.
When you are talking about players of this caliber – really a who’s who of the best all-around forwards in the NHL – The odds of No. 1 or No. 2 happening are remote. So, barring a lengthy injury, when it comes to the Selke, you’re likely going to know the winner of the award in January and there won’t be much suspense at season’s end.
In 2018-19, the writers’ midseason “frontrunners” all happened to win the award come season’s end.
For the record, the other mid-season “frontrunners” for this season as voted on by the writers:
- Hart Trophy – Connor McDavid, Edmonton
- Norris Trophy – John Carlson, Washington
- Calder Trophy – Cale Makar, Colorado
- Lady Byng Trophy – Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado
Let’s see how those hold up as more awards are announced in the coming weeks. Odds are, not much, and we’ve known the winners for months.