July 20, 2020
With the NHL regular season over — and only the new-look Stanley Cup Playoff qualifiers and round robin seeding tournament standing between the league and the start of the playoffs — hockey has begun to announce the finalists for their major year-end awards, including Coach of the Year and more.
And on Monday, a few days after head coach Alain Vigneault was announced as a finalist for the top coaching honor, the Jack Adams Award, and Oskar Lindblom was placed among those in contention for the Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy, the league announced that Flyers forward Sean Couturier is one of the three finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, which is given annually to "to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game."
The other finalists, as voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, are Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins and Ryan O’Reilly of the St. Louis Blues.
"It's nice to be honored and recognized by the media," said Couturier. "It reflects on the year that the team had as well. I try to pay attention to details and do the right things all the time, be on the right side of the puck and reliable in all aspects of the game. I try to take pride in that."
For Couturier, this is his second time being named a finalist for the Selke Trophy, after finishing second to Anze Kopitar following the 2017-18 season. But this time, Coots should be the favorite.
Couturier, who has long been known as one of the best defensive forwards in the game, has really upped his offensive game over the last few years and has grown to become one of the best two-way forwards in the NHL, full stop. Through his first six NHL seasons, the now 27-year old center never averaged more than 0.44 points per game. In the years since, he's more than doubled his best output from that span and has been averaging 0.91 points per game over the last three seasons.
This year, Couturier continued to be a force on both the Flyers penalty kill and power play while appearing in all 69 games for Philadelphia — he's only missed two games total over the last three seasons and led all Flyers forwards in average ice time (19:50) by nearly a full minute — and was named the winner of the Bobby Clarke Trophy, given to the Flyers' MVP, for the second straight year. He finished the season second on the Flyers in total points with 59 (22 goals, 37 assists) and led the team with a plus-21 rating, which was good for tenth best in the entire NHL. Additionally, Couturier led the entire NHL with a face-off win percentage of 59.6 (min. 50 face-offs).
Alain Vigneault on Sean Couturier's Selke Trophy nomination. "No doubt that Coots is one of the best two-way players in the League. Plays a full 200-foot game. He’s earned the nomination as one of the best in the League. Real happy for him." pic.twitter.com/m8wHpo9SU6— Adam Kimelman (@NHLAdamK) July 20, 2020
If Couturier is named the Selke Trophy winner, he will join Dave Poulin (1987) and Bob Clarke (1983) as the only Flyers to ever win the prestigious award.
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