Sean Couturier could become the first Flyers player since Dave Poulin in 1986-87 to win the Selke Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s best defensive forward.
The 27-year-old center was among three finalists nominated for the award Monday by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Boston’s Patrice Bergeron, nominated for a record ninth time, and St. Louis’ Ryan O’Reilly are the other finalists.
The winner will be announced during the conference finals.
Being nominated “reflects on the year that the team had as well,” Couturier said.
Couturier finished with 59 points in 69 games and a plus-21 rating, and he led the NHL by winning 59.6% of his faceoffs.
For years, Couturier has been matched against the league’s best offensive forwards but has never won the Selke, which has evolved into an award that also takes offense into consideration.
Couturier’s teammates thrived whenever they were put on his line, causing coach Alain Vigneault to call him “Dr. Coots” because of the way he cured someone who was “ailing” on offense.
In this season’s Professional Hockey Writers Association’s midseason vote, Couturier was No. 1 in the Selke, followed by Bergeron and O’Reilly, last year’s winner.
This season, Bergeron, who turns 35 on Friday, had 56 points in 61 games and was plus-23. O’Reilly had 61 points in 71 games and was plus-11. Bergeron, whose Bruins will face the Flyers in a round-robin game Aug. 2 in Toronto, is a four-time winner.
Couturier said he has always looked up to him.
“He’s definitely a great role model for any young guys trying to learn the game to play the right way,” Couturier said at training camp last week. “He does all the little things right, barely makes any mistakes, plays the right way and he’s responsible.”
Couturier said Bergeron was his role model when he broke into the NHL as a 19-year-old in 2011-12. At the time, Bergeron was a seven-year-veteran.
“He was already established as a solid player,” said Couturier, adding he looked up to him and players like Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Toews and Jordan Staal, and that it was an “honor to be mentioned in the same conversation as those guys.”
In addition to Poulin, Bobby Clarke (1982-83) was the only other Flyer to win the Selke. Poulin was 29 when he won it, and Clarke was 33.
The Flyers had their first day off from camp Monday and will resume with a scrimmage Tuesday in Voorhees. Camp is closed to the public because of coronavirus concerns. ... Jake Voracek hasn’t been wearing his visor at camp. “It’s real hot out there. It feels like you’re in a big bubble with that visor,” he said Sunday. “You see better and get some more fresh air” with it off. He said he is undecided whether he will wear it when games are played.