Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks were named Thursday as the three finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward.
Bergeron led the NHL in face-off wins with 1,015 -- the highest total in the NHL the past seven seasons -- and ranked second in the NHL in plus-minus with a career-high plus-38 rating and led all Bruins forwards in average ice time playing shorthanded (1:57). Bergeron won the award in 2012 and was runner-up to Toews in 2013.
Kopitar appeared in all 82 games and logged more ice time (1,712:45) than all NHL forwards except Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby. He led the Kings and tied for fourth in the NHL in plus-minus with a career-high plus-34 rating and won 53.3% of his 1,451 faceoffs. Kopitar is a Selke finalist for the first time and the first Kings player in franchise history to be nominated.
Toews placed fifth in the NHL in both faceoff wins (884) and percentage (57.2%) and ranked second on the club in takeaways (51) and plus-minus (plus-26). He is a finalist for the third time in four years and won the honour in 2012-13.
The winner will be announced June 24 in Las Vegas.
BISHOP HAVING SURGERY
Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop won't spend much time on the golf course during the off-season.
Bishop said Thursday he will have surgery next week to fix ligament damage in his right wrist and will be in a cast for six weeks. The total rehab time will be three to four months but Bishop expects to be fully healed by the time training camp rolls around in September.
"It will take all summer but it needs to get fixed," Bishop said on the league's website, adding that he played with a cast on his wrist "the whole second half of the year. It's been a pain "¶ I had to learn to play a different way."
The wrist injury, which Bishop said happened during warmups prior to the Lightning's game against the Edmonton Oilers Jan. 5 is unrelated to the elbow issue that caused him to miss the first-round playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens. He had planned on returning for Game 6 but the Habs swept the series.
TOP PROSPECT NAMED TOP D-MAN
Barrie Colts defenceman Aaron Ekblad, considered by many to be the top prospect for this summer's NHL draft, was named Thursday as the Ontario Hockey League's top blueliner.
Ekblad, ranked second to Kingston Frontenacs winger Sam Bennett by NHL Central Scouting, received 89 of a possible 95 points in voting by OHL general managers for the Max Kaminsky Trophy. Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Slater Koekkoek of the Windsor Spitfires was second in voting while New York Islanders prospect Adam Pelech of the Erie Otters was third.
"I came into this year with a set of goals I shared with no one," Ekblad said. "One of those goals was to be given the Max Kaminsky Trophy. I watched Ryan Ellis as a fan of the OHL and again Dougie Hamilton as a competitor while they stapled themselves as the league's top defencemen. I idolized these players and fantasized being in their shoes and with the help of my teammates and the opportunity from the coaching staff with the Barrie Colts that moment has finally come."
Ekblad had 23 goals and 30 assists in 58 games with the Colts this season.
LINDEN MEETS WITH NEELY
Recently hired Vancouver Canucks president Trevor Linden met Thursday with his Boston Bruins counterpart, Cam Neely, according to the Vancouver Province.
But the report didn't indicate if Linden sought permission to talk to Bruins assistant general manager Jim Benning about the vacant Canucks' GM job during his meeting with Neely in Boston. Benning has been rumoured to be one of the front-runners to get the job after when Mike Gillis was fired.
"I know from the outside people are wondering what's going on," Linden told the Province. "But this isn't a two-week project. The ripple effect of each decision is significant. I have to understand things in the full situation. not just a sliver here or a sliver there.
"The one thing I'll say is I spoke to several GMs and I haven't got any push back on timing, whether they're playing or not."
The Montreal Canadiens signed Union College forward Daniel Carr to a two-year, entry-level contract and Sudbury Wolves forward Connor Crisp to a three-year, entry-level deal. Carr had 22 goals and 28 assists in 39 games with Union this season while Crisp had 28 goals and 27 assists in 67 games with Sudbury.