Florida Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov (L) is the first player in Panthers history to capture the award after he was named a finalist for the first time. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
June 18 (UPI) -- Florida Panthers star Aleksander Barkov was named the recipient of the Selke Trophy, which is presented annually to the league's best defensive forward.
Barkov is the first player in Panthers history to capture the award after he was named a finalist for the first time in his eight-year career. He was first among Florida forwards in takeaways (39) and average time on ice per game (20:56) and second in blocked shots (37) this season.
The 25-year-old center finished 15th in the NHL in face-off percentage (54.9%) and took the 10th most face-offs (1,026), winning the eighth most (563). He also led the Panthers in SAT percentage, taking 58.6% of all shot attempts when he was on the ice at 5-on-5.
Barkov becomes just the fifth player in NHL history to win both the Selke and the Lady Byng trophies. He won the Lady Byng -- given to the player judged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct -- in 2019.
"I want to thank all my teammates, the whole organization of the Florida Panthers, coaches [and] management," Barkov said in a statement Friday. "Without them, it would never be possible. And then, obviously, my family, my parents and then my brother and everyone who helped me, all the trainers in South Florida and North America."
Barkov scored 58 points (26 goals, 32 assists) over 50 games to help the Panthers finish second in the Central Division. Florida lost in six games to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, a four-time Selke winner, and Vegas Golden Knights forward Mark Stone were the other finalists for the award.
"I want to congratulate 'Bergy' and Stone for great seasons, too, and good luck to Stone as well in the [playoffs]," Barkov said. "Those are two guys I really look up to. There are a lot of different players in the league I look up to as well, who I play against, but those two are really good players.
"So I like to play against them and see them play and take something for myself, too."
On Thursday, Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind'Amour was announced as the winner of the Jack Adams Award, which goes to the league's best coach.
Brind'Amour, who has gone 120-66-20 in three seasons with the club, guided the Canes to a first-place finish in the Central Division this year. Carolina lost to the Lightning in the second round of the postseason.