Home News Aleksander Barkov Steps Up as the Premier Defensive Forward, Filling Patrice Bergeron’s Selke Trophy Shoes

Aleksander Barkov Steps Up as the Premier Defensive Forward, Filling Patrice Bergeron’s Selke Trophy Shoes

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The retirement of Patrice Bergeron has paved the way for a new Selke Trophy champion, and Aleksander Barkov has emphatically stepped into that role, showcasing his defensive prowess in the 2023-24 season.

With a record of six Selke Trophies, Bergeron’s legacy is undeniable, and there’s a strong case for renaming the award in his honor. He left the game at the top, securing the Selke in his final two seasons at ages 36 and 37. While replicating Bergeron’s impact may seem like an insurmountable task, Barkov is proving to be a worthy successor.

Having last claimed the Selke in the 2020-21 season, Barkov has elevated his game even further this year. His five-on-five contributions have been vital to the Florida Panthers, surpassing even Bergeron in certain metrics.

Statistics courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.


xG Share

Goal differential

xG Share w/out

Goal differential w/out

Bergeron (21-22)





Bergeron (22-23)





Barkov (23-24)





The Panthers have notably struggled without Barkov on the ice, with a -10 goal differential at five-on-five. This could be partly due to the team’s shooting misfortune, but it’s clear that their defensive game takes a hit without the NHL’s top defensive forward.

The Bruins, too, were better off with Bergeron playing, but they managed to maintain a positive scoreline even in his absence. Last season, they outscored their opponents 153-96 at five-on-five without him.

Bergeron’s absence did affect the team’s expected goals, but having a Vezina Trophy-winning goalie helped mitigate those impacts.

A distinct advantage Barkov holds over Bergeron is his size. At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Barkov leverages his stature effectively, disrupting opponents’ scoring opportunities with his reach and physicality.

Barkov’s ability to transition from defense to offense is evident in every Panthers game. He frequently disrupts offensive plays and swiftly moves the puck up the ice.

This skill is crucial, as the Panthers have relied heavily on Barkov’s offensive input this season, an area where he surpasses Bergeron’s later career performance. While Bergeron consistently scored 20-30 goals with about 30 assists, Barkov has already tallied 11 goals and 21 assists in 30 games this season.

His defensive play not only bolsters the Panthers’ offense but also helps his teammates thrive. Sam Reinhart, for instance, is on track for a career-best season playing alongside Barkov.

Barkov has undeniably taken over as the NHL’s leading defensive forward, a title once held by Bergeron. While matching Bergeron’s Selke legacy is a daunting challenge, Barkov is well on his way to narrowing the gap, beginning with this year’s trophy race.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Aleksander Barkov Selke Trophy

Who is Aleksander Barkov and why is he significant in the NHL?

Aleksander Barkov is a professional ice hockey player who has gained prominence as one of the top defensive forwards in the NHL. Following the retirement of Patrice Bergeron, Barkov has been highlighted for his exceptional defensive skills and is seen as a strong contender for the Selke Trophy, an award given to the league’s best defensive forward.

What impact has Patrice Bergeron had on the Selke Trophy?

Patrice Bergeron is a legendary figure in NHL history, particularly known for his defensive prowess. He won the Selke Trophy six times during his career, setting a high standard for defensive forwards. His retirement has opened up the competition for the award, with Barkov emerging as a potential successor.

How does Barkov compare to Bergeron in terms of playing style and achievements?

Aleksander Barkov and Patrice Bergeron share similarities in their defensive capabilities on the ice. However, Barkov is noted for his larger physical stature, which he uses effectively in defensive plays. Statistically, Barkov has been performing exceptionally well since Bergeron’s retirement, making a strong case for his candidacy for the Selke Trophy.

What makes Barkov a standout player for the Florida Panthers?

Barkov’s contributions to the Florida Panthers are not limited to his defensive skills. He is also a key player in their offense, with impressive goal and assist records. His ability to transition swiftly from defense to offense and his impact on the team’s overall performance make him a standout player.

Is Barkov on track to match Bergeron’s Selke Trophy record?

While Patrice Bergeron’s record of six Selke Trophies is formidable, Aleksander Barkov is showing great potential in the race for the award. He has already won the Selke once and is continuing to display the skills and performance that could see him close the gap on Bergeron’s legacy in the future.

More about Aleksander Barkov Selke Trophy

  • Aleksander Barkov’s Player Profile
  • Overview of the Selke Trophy
  • Patrice Bergeron’s Career Highlights
  • NHL Defensive Forward Rankings
  • Florida Panthers Team Statistics

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SelkeWatcher December 28, 2023 - 9:08 pm

interesting stats there, but don’t forget, Bergeron’s got a legacy that’s hard to beat, Barkov’s good but he’s got a long way to go to match that kinda record

PanthersPride67 December 29, 2023 - 1:07 am

gotta say, Barkov’s size really does give him an edge, dude’s a tank on ice and it shows in how he plays, defense to offense in a blink, amazing to watch!

HockeyFanJoe December 29, 2023 - 10:10 am

wow, Barkov’s really stepping up his game this year, totally deserves that selke nod, Bergeron was a legend but Barkov’s right there with him!

IceQueen December 29, 2023 - 2:40 pm

Barkov’s 11 goals and 21 assists, that’s impressive, Panthers are lucky to have him, he’s like the backbone of the team right now, Go Panthers!


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