Sean Couturier is your Frank J. Selke Trophy winner!
Coots is now only the third player in Philadelphia Flyers history to win the Selke, and he joins very good company in doing so. Past winners include former captain Dave Poulin (1986-1987) and Bobby Clarke (1982-1983), the all-time Flyers great. The award goes to the player who demonstrates the most skill in the defensive aspect of the game, something us Flyers fans have known he excels at.
Before this year, Couturier was in the top ten for the Selke trophy four times in eight seasons:
2013-2014 season: 9th place
2015-2016 season: 8th place
2017-2018 season: 2nd place
2018-2019 season: 6th place
Up until his second-place finish three seasons ago, Couturier was maybe not getting the recognition he deserved leaguewide that he was getting in Philadelphia. This could be due to his early offensive numbers. Other past winners such as Anze Kopitar (92 points in 2017-2018) or Patrice Bergeron (consistent 50-60 points guy) have been helped by their point totals, not to take anything away from these players. Couturier was on pace for a 70-point season this year, I am just saying it helps.
Coots beat out some tough competition this year as well, including previously mentioned 4x Selke winner Bergeron. The other finalist was Ryan O’Reilly of the St. Louis Blues, who was looking to win the trophy back-to-back seasons after winning it last year. Though, it appears he was the clear favorite this season:
When looking at the history of the Selke Trophy, once you can break through and win your first one, it becomes easier to win a second etc. In the 42 years of the Selke Trophy’s existence, there have been nine players who have won the award multiple times:
Patrice Bergeron: 4
Bob Gainey: 4
Guy Carbonneau: 3
Pavel Datsyuk: 3
Jere Lehtinen: 3
Rob Brind’Amour: 2
Sergei Fedorov: 2
Anze Kopitar: 2
Michael Peca: 2
Quite a few HOF/future HOF players on that list. Sean Couturier is currently 27, right in the prime of his career and has not looked back since his offensive production exploded three seasons ago. A Selke Trophy looks really good on an NHL resume, and I truly believe Coots wins at least one more and should be in the conversation yearly, as he usually is.
Some insight from the man himself on how his game has developed:
He is a Flyer who will not be going anywhere, anytime soon. Don’t worry too much AV (Coach of the Year finalist), Coots made sure the Flyers took home at least one award this season.