NHL announces Selke finalists
|Vancouver's Ryan Kesler, Chicago's Jonathan Toews and Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk have been named finalists for the Selke Trophy. (RETUERS)
NEW YORK -- Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk, Vancouver's Ryan Kesler and Chicago's Jonathan Toews have been named finalists for the Selke Trophy as the top defensive forward in the NHL.
Datsyuk, who has earned this award each of the last three years, ranked 11th in the league with 71 takeaways despite missing 26 regular-season games due to injury. The 32-year-old Russian tied for second on the Red Wings with a plus-11 rating while leading the club with a 54.6 winning percentage on face- offs.
Should Datsyuk win the award again, he would become the first player to claim the honor four consecutive times since Montreal's Bob Gainey won it the first four seasons (1978-81) it was presented.
Kesler led the Canucks in face-off wins at a career-high 57.4 percent, compiled a team-best 65 takeaways and posted a plus-24 rating. The American's play helped Vancouver record the lowest team goals-against average in the NHL (2.20) for the first time in franchise history.
The 26-year-old Kesler is a Selke finalist for the third straight year after finishing second in 2010 and third in 2009.
Toews, who turns 23 on Friday, led all Chicago forwards with a career-high plus-25 rating and ranked second in the NHL behind San Jose's Joe Thornton with 95 takeaways to garner his first Selke nomination. The Manitoba native also won a league-leading 937 of his 1,653 face-offs (56.7 percent).
The winner will be announced during the 2011 NHL Awards program on June 22 in Las Vegas.