Two New Jersey Devils Players Get Selke Trophy Votes

Last season, New Jersey Devils captain Nico Hischier finished second in Selke Trophy voting. Now that perennial winner Patrice Bergeron is retired, where did Hischier finish, and who was the teammate who joined him?
Pittsburgh Penguins v New Jersey Devils
Pittsburgh Penguins v New Jersey Devils / Elsa/GettyImages

Coming into this season, many thought New Jersey Devils captain Nico Hischier would be at the top of the contenders list for the Selke Trophy. The award for the NHL's leading defensive forward was wide open after Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron retired after winning his seventh award. Hischier finished last season second, so it made sense that he could be the heir apparent, but he'd have to repeat his production not only offensively but defensively.

Of course, that isn't exactly what happened. Hischier didn't have a bad season by any means, but the Devils did. Since the Devils were under water for most of the season, they had to get creative in how they deployed Hischier and the rest of the lines. That became especially hard after Michael McLeod was arrested for an alleged sexual assault. Hischier had to take more of a defensive responsibility.

He still had 67 points this season. He wasn't an 80-point player like last season, but a drop in team production, an increased defensive responsibility, a putrid power play, and injuries caused the drop in offensive numbers. Then, he had to change his philosophy again when Jack Hughes was injured, changing his focus to being the top offensive playmaker.

However, this is a defensive award, and Hischier was still good defensively. His line with Jesper Bratt on the penalty kill was by far the better unit. In 95 minutes on PK, Hischier saw just seven goals scored against him. He also was on the ice for a shorthanded goal, meaning he was just a -6 on the penalty kill.

The voting is in, and Hischier finished 19th in Selke voting. He had one second-place vote, one third-place vote, two fourth-place votes, and a fifth-place vote. He had some backing, but it's clear that going from 161 people sending him votes to just five. It's a rough drop, but it was clearly more than a drop in Hischier's ability.

The other player who got a vote was Jesper Bratt. He got one fifth-place vote from a Devils beat reporter. Bratt is a fine defensive player, but it seems a little early for Selke votes. He was really good at the PK, but he was only given 80 minutes on that unit this season despite playing all 82 games. Hischier played 11 fewer games but had 15 more minutes.

If this season was just a blip on the radar, then Devils will be back high on the list again next season. Hischier might even win it.