David Backes will get have one of those awkward moments where he stands back stage at the NHL awards show this summer, standing alongside Pavel Datsyuk and Patrice Bergeron for a few moments before they announce the winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy for the top defensive forward. According to the NHL, the winner will be selected by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
Besides his team-high totals of 24 goals and 54 points, Backes led Blues forwards with an average ice time of 19:59 while posting a plus-15 rating. He started just 46 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, the second-fewest of any Blues forward who played at least 10 games, but finished 52.4 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, meaning he was able to turn defense into offense better than any player on the team. He also led all NHL forwards in advanced metrics website Behind the Net's Quality of Competition rating, meaning the players he skated against had the highest average plus/minus rating.
He led the team with 226 hits and all Blues forwards with 72 blocked shots, while his 50 takeaways were second on the team. He won just 48.6 percent of his faceoffs, but took the most on the team at 1,353.
The Blues were the League's best defensive team, allowing just 1.60 goals per game. Much of that had to do with goaltending, but the team allowed a League-low 26.7 shots per game, meaning skaters like Backes had a big role in that defensive excellence.
Bergeron is noted in the NHL's announcement story for his second-best faceoff percentage while Datsyuk was noted as "probably being the guy who gets voted as the winner because a lot of these writers are lazy. Remember how Nicklas Lidstrom 'won' the Norris last year?"*
Interestingly, the hashtag #BackesForSelke has been active all season long among fans on Twitter. Will the professional hockey writers feel the same way?
*Not a real quote.