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Detroit Free Press Selke Prediction: David Backes Over Pavel Datsyuk?

The NHL Awards are this Wednesday, which of course has led to two things: complaining about Nickelback and trying to predict who is going to take home the trophies. The Blues have three nominations this year: the Jack Adams for coach of the year, the GM of the year, and the Frank Selke Trophy for best defensive forward.

As many times as Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk has won it (three seasons in a row), it should probably just be re-named after him and given a permanent place of residence in the guy’s rec room. One would also assume that the Detroit media would be predicting that Datsyuk will add a fourth trophy to his resume, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Ted Kulfan of the Detroit Free Press is bucking the homer trend and predicting that David Backes will win the Selke this season. Says Mr. Kulfan:

If Datsyuk were to win, he would tie Bob Gainey for most Selkes won (four), but it’s doubtful that will happen. Backes was the best overall forward on the league’s best defensive team, which likely carried a lot of weight with voters. Backes had 72 blocked shots and 50 takeaways, and was plus-15 while going against opposing teams’ best lines.

That’s some pretty good rationalization as to why Backes should win, and one that I absolutely cannot disagree with. My issue is this: Datsyuk plays on the Red Wings. Datsyuk has the reputation. Also, Datsyuk didn’t seem to manage to get under the skin of many other teams via physicality like Backes did. David Backes is nothing if not rough and tumble, and you wonder how well that will play with the guys responsible for voting for this stuff.