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Two New Jersey Devils players receive Selke Trophy votes

Going into this season, many thought that New Jersey Devils captain Nico Hischier would be at the top of the list of Selke Trophy contenders. The NHL's leading defensive forward award was left wide open after Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron retired after winning his seventh award. Hischier finished second last season, so it stood to reason that he could be the heir to the throne, but he needed to repeat his performance not only on offense but also on defense.

Of course, that's not exactly what happened. Hischier by no means had a bad season, but the Devils did. Since the Devils were underwater for most of the season, they had to get creative with how they used Hischier and the rest of their lines. Things got particularly tough after Michael McLeod was arrested for an alleged sexual assault. Hischier had to take on more defensive responsibility.

He still had 67 points this season. He wasn't an 80-point player like he was last season, but a decline in team production, increased defensive responsibility, a lazy power play and injuries led to a decline in offensive numbers. Then he had to change his philosophy again when Jack Hughes was injured and shifted his focus to the role of the best offensive playmaker.

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

The vote is in, and Hischier came 19th in the Selke voting. He had one second place vote, one third place vote, two fourth place votes and one fifth place vote. He had some support, but it is clear that the number of voters who sent him votes increased from 161 to just five. It's a tough decline, but it was clearly more than just a decline in Hischier's abilities.

The other player who received a vote was Jesper Bratt. He received a fifth-place vote from a Devils beat reporter. Bratt is a good defensive player, but it seems a little too early to vote for Selke. He was really good on the PK but only saw 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 the Devils will be back at the top of the list next season. Hischier could even win it.

Anna Harden

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