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“The best in the world”. The Russian Finn won another prize in the NHL and is now going for the Stanley Cup

Date: June 25, 2024 Time: 11:56:30

May 19, 2024 is the day when the leaders of Russian hockey will again have the right to bite their elbows. While the best Russian center forward remains 38-year-old Evgeni Malkin, the next namesake, Kuznetsov, has not been in the best condition for a long time, and after them there was a real shortage of personnel in the position, he once admitted. plus the NHL. the center of merit of him, who is actually also Russian. However, he was born in Finland and at some point he did not appear on the radars of youth national team coaches.

The winner of the Selke Trophy, the award for the best defensive forward at the end of the regular season, was announced overseas. The top three contenders for the award were Jordan Staal of Carolina, regular season leading scorer Auston Matthews of Toronto and Aleksandr Barkov of Florida. And it was the captain of the Panthers, who recently made it to the Eastern Conference finals in the playoffs, who was chosen as the winner by the representatives of the NHL Journalists Association.

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There is not much talk about Barkov in the media, although lately North American publications have begun to pay more attention to him than usual. However, Alexander has been maintaining a very high level for several years: he was nominated for the Selka for the fourth consecutive time and the award already belonged to him in 2021, when the center forward was among the three main contenders for the title. the first time.

After the retirement of Patrice Bergeron, who took the award twice before (and in total six times), the reputation of the best defensive forward in the league should fall entirely on Barkov, and the second “Selke” of his career is a clear confirmation of this. In September, Alexander will turn only 29 years old; He still has many seasons left at the highest level in which he will be able to demonstrate his main playing qualities and continue to be the best in his role.

Alexander Barkov vs. Patrice Bergeron

Photo: Anthony Nesmith/Zuma/TASS

And with a large, if not huge, reserve this year, 165 of 194 journalists immediately placed the Panthers captain in first place. Until recently it was Bergeron who won with such superiority, but now it seems that the era of Alexander Barkov is arriving in the league. If we talk about the final gap with the second place, which was occupied by Eric Staal, then it was 1278 points: Barkov scored 1817 points, while the forward from Carolina scored 539. Matthews, by the way, was only 25 points behind Staal.

For a long time, Alexander was considered almost the most underrated player in the NHL, again if we talk about media attention. However, in Florida, their leader has been highly valued for quite a long time: already in 2018, 23-year-old Barkov became the captain of the team and four years later received an eight-year contract with a salary cap of 10 million of dollars. At the time of signing the contract, the average salary was only 10 hockey players in the league.

He was also one of the highest-paid players this season:

11 highest-paid players of the new NHL season

What made Alexander’s lead in the vote so large? Everything is quite simple: Barkov is one of the best centers in the NHL in faceoffs (57.3%, the sixth highest result for players with more than 1000 faceoffs), reliably plays on a minority special team, which became sixth in the league at the end of the season (4.96 goals conceded per 60 minutes is the eighth indicator for forwards who spent at least 125 minutes on the ice to neutralize the most), and even in equal forces too – with this the team loses 2.04 goals per 60 minutes (for comparison, Staal has this indicator of 3.09, Matthews has 3.08). For a player who often plays against opposing stars (for example, in games with Colorado, Barkov played against MacKinnon for almost 18 of the 29 minutes during his presence on the ice), this is a very strong indicator.

Well, he is also good directly in attack: 80 points in 73 games, of course, is not a crazy figure (Kucherov, MacKinnon and McDavid really ruined us this year), but it is still more than one effective action per game, which allows classify the Russian Finn as an elite striker.

Alexander is very well demonstrating his importance for Florida outside the regular season at the moment: in these playoffs he has already scored three winning goals, and in the last game with Boston he made a very important block, which allowed the Panthers to survive in the minority . With the score 1:1 three minutes before the end of regulation time. I think you know what happened next.

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“I really don’t have words to describe everything he’s doing for our team right now… He’s the best player in the world right now,” captain Matthew Tkachuk said. Barkov leads Florida to its second consecutive finals and possibly the first championship in club history. He will now do so as a two-time Selke Trophy winner. Perhaps this award will inspire you to new feats?

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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