One of the more heavily debated awards going into Wednesday night’s NHL Awards was the Frank J. Selke Trophy for the top defensive forward in the league. At the end of the night, Ryan O’Reilly of the St. Louis Blues was named the winner of the award as he added to the list of his accomplishments to end the season.
— NHL (@NHL) June 20, 2019
O’Reilly was traded to the Blues from the Buffalo Sabres as general manager Doug Armstrong, who was up for the GM of the Year Award, wanted to add some skill and shake things up. O’Reilly, who lost the love for the game in Buffalo, was a pivotal player for the Blues this season. He found a renewed passion for hockey again. It did not hurt that his dad works in mental health. He trained Ryan in the off-season to come back stronger than before.
A Selke Winning Season for Ryan O’Reilly
This led to O’Reilly leading the Blues in scoring with 77 points (28 goals, 49 assists) as he played in all 82 games. You could make an argument that O’Reilly should have been nominated for the Hart Trophy as League MVP as he was the best player for the Blues all season long, even through the teams early struggles.
One the playoffs came, O’Reilly took his game to an even higher level as he won the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as Most Valuable Player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. O’Reilly compiled 23 points, tied with Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand for most in the playoffs. He also set a new Blues franchise record for points in the playoffs, passing Brett Hull and Bernie Federko.
O’Reilly was the first player since Mark Messier in 1987 to have a six-game point streak in the playoffs as well as a four-game goal streak. The last player to have a four-game goal streak in the playoffs was Wayne Gretzky.
The other two finalists were Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins and Mark Stone of the Vegas Golden Knights. Bergeron was nominated for the Selke Trophy for the eighth consecutive year and was looking to win the award for an NHL record fifth time. Stone was on the ballot for the first time and as the voting shows this was a very tough decision.
Voting for the Frank J. Selke Trophy as selected by members of the PHWA: pic.twitter.com/ZElunlIDLc
— PHWA (@ThePHWA) June 20, 2019
O’Reilly is the second player in Blues franchise history to win the Selke Trophy. The first was Rick Meagher in 1989-90. The award is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season.
Main Photo: MONTREAL, QC – OCTOBER 17: Look on St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly (90) during the St. Louis Blues versus the Montreal Canadiens game on October 17, 2018, at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)