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Building Your Selke Ballot - The Tough-Minutes Forwards

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The initial Selke candidate list.  <a href="http://i.imgur.com/yOVj7.png" target="new">Click here for the high-res version</a>.
The initial Selke candidate list. Click here for the high-res version.

The Frank J. Selke Trophy is an annual award given to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association at the end of the regular season. Typically, the PHWA goes out of it's way to avoid awarding it to the best defensive forward in the game and turns the Selke into a lifetime achievement award. Not only that, the voters are disproportionately dispersed through the league, so unless the PHWA decides it's time for a lifetime achievement award, there's no chance the finalists are going to be players in small media markets.

It's time to put an end to that.

Click here for the full-sized version

Each bubble in the graph above represents the possession metrics of a forward with a minimum of 40 games played in 2011-12, and a Rel QoC of 1 or greater. That leaves 48 forwards to consider for the Selke. Those players include David Backes, Mikael Backlund, Todd Bertuzzi, Dave Bolland, Kyle Brodziak, Troy Brouwer, Ryan Callahan, Mike Cammalleri, Jeff Carter, Logan Couture, Pavel Datsyuk, Pascal Dupuis, Patrick Dwyer, Patrik Elias, Martin Erat, Valtteri Filppula, Mike Fisher, Johan Franzen, Curtis Glencross, Marcel Goc, Adam Hall, Martin Hanzal, Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff, Jarome Iginla, Olli Jokinen, Anze Kopitar, Sergei Kostitsyn, Brooks Laich, Patrick Marleau, Rick Nash, T.J. Oshie, Samuel Pahlsson, Joe Pavelski, Andreas Nodl, Ryan Smyth, Jordan Staal, Brandon Sutter, Petr Sykora, Alex Tanguay, Nate Thompson, Joe Thornton, Jonathan Toews, R.J. Umberger, Radim Vrbata, Ray Whitney, James Wyman, and Henrik Zetterberg.

The horizontal axis shows qualcomp, specifically Corsi relative quality of competition taken from the venerable and terrifying Gabriel Desjardins' behindthenet.ca. The vertical axis shows percentage of percentage of faceoffs taken in the defensive zone, again from the venerable and terrifying one. The bubbles are color-coded: blue means the player in the bubble has a positive zonestart-adjusted Corsi, white a negative. Finally, the size of the bubble indicates absolute value for zonestart-adjusted Corsi. All of the caveats about comparing these numbers between teams stand, but the chart is still a useful jumping-off point for analysis and discussion.

  • Given the number of forwards with tough defensive zonestarts, it's easy to eliminate the forwards with more offensive zonestarts: Toews, Franzen, Couture, Datsyuk, Whitney, Bertuzzi, Zetterberg, Filppula, Vrbata, Cammalleri, Kopitar, Dupuis, Marleau, Nash and Elias. 33 candidates remain.
  • 17 of our candidates played 82 games, so those with a much lower number of games played, let's say less than 65, are out: Wyman, Backlund, Carter, Hall, Goc, Nodl, Staal, Tanguay, Hanzal. 24 candidates remain.
  • Based on the difficulty of minutes the rest of the group has played, those forwards with a DZS of less than 57.5% and a Rel QoC of less than 1.4 are out: Smyth, Hemsky, Laich, Kostitsyn, Umberger, Callahan, Sykora, Brouwer, Oshie, Backes. 14 candidates remain.

My 14 candidates for the Selke are on the graph below:

Ubvit_medium

Click here for the full-sized version

The forwards under final consideration are Dave Bolland, Kyle Brodziak, Patrick Dwyer, Martin Erat, Mike Fisher, Curtis Glencross, Shawn Horcoff, Jarome Iginla, Olli Jokinen,Samuel Pahlsson, Joe Pavelski, Brandon Sutter, Nate Thompson, Joe Thornton.

Based on the difficulty of assignment and results on the chart, my three finalists are Dave Bolland, Brandon Sutter and Nate Thompson, with Dave Bolland winning the honors.

All stats available at behindthenet.ca courtesy Gabriel Desjardins