For the second year in a row Ryan Kesler’s been nominated for the Selke. This year he’s up against Pavel Datsyuk of the Red Wings and Jordan Staal of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Last year Kesler’s nomination was a bit of a surprise but as the two way forward has developed his play and become so instrumental on the Canucks penalty kill (LA Kings series notwithstanding) it was almost expected he’d be included again this year.
While some may have Datsyuk as a shoe in for this year’s award, don’t be so sure. As much as we may not like it, players play at the Olympics is likely to play some factor in the final decision (no matter how big or small it may be) and Kesler’s career numbers and excellent vision and play on the ice when down a man is a huge testament to his two way game. Not to downplay the likes of Jordan Staal in this nomination at all as he’s been big for the Penguins, but I see this as being a two man race between Kesler and Datsyuk. At the end of the day Kesler’s role’s impact to the team is that much more than Staal’s to the Penguins or Datsyuk’s to the Red Wings.
It’d certainly be a nice piece of hardware to add to this year’s Canucks gold, silver, bronze, NW Division banner, and Art Ross trophy. The Canucks have never had a player win a Frank J. Selke award and even if they don’t this year, there’s really only one piece of hardware Canucks fans really want.