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September 11, 2020

Flyers' Sean Couturier wins 2020 Selke Award as NHL's best two-way forward

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35_Sean_Couturier_FlyersvsKnights_KateFrese.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Is Sean Couturier the next Flyers captain?

The Flyers' season may be over, but one of their forwards just collected a pretty impressive piece of hardware. Sean Couturier was named the winner of the 2020 Selke Trophy, handed out annually to the game's best defensive forward.

Couturier, who already won his second-straight Bobby Clarke Trophy as the Flyers team MVP, beat fellow finalists Ryan O'Reilly of the St. Louis Blues, who won the award last year, and Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins. And it wasn't particularly close. 

The Flyers forward finished with 1,424 points in the voting, including 117 first-place votes. Bergeron finished second with 884 points (21 first-place votes) and O'Reilly in third with 816 points (11 first-place votes). This was Couturier's second time as a finalist — he finished second to Anze Kopitar following the 2017-18 season — and, obviously, his first win.

“It’s a great honor,” Couturier said of his Selke win. “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.”

Couturier, who appeared in all 69 games for the Flyers this season, has only missed two games over the last three seasons and led all Flyers forwards in average ice time (19:50) by nearly a full minute. In addition to his 22 goals and 37 assists, he also had a team-high plus-minus rating of plus-21, which was good for 10th among all NHL forwards. The Flyers center also lead the league in faceoff win percentage this season (59.6%) among the 256 players who took at least 50 face-offs.

"I think AV [head coach Alain Vigneault] spoke about it a little last week. You have a man here in Sean Couturier who took a few years in the league to find the offensive part of his game, but a guy that plays the right way defensively," general manager Chuck Fletcher said on Thursday before the winner was announced. "He understands the game, doesn’t cheat, wins battles, wins faceoffs, very good on the forecheck, very good in his own zone, very good penalty killer and very good on the power play. There’s flashier players than Sean Couturier. 

"In terms of just getting the job done, matching up against top players and producing in the clutch, he’s a remarkable player for us and certainly is a worthy nominee for the Selke Trophy. A guy who’s really driving the bus for this team right now."

With the win, Couturier joins Dave Poulin (1987) and Bob Clarke (1983) as the only Flyers to ever win the prestigious award. 

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