Toews not a Selke finalist -- yet

Jonathan Toews' reputation as a defensive forward is on the rise. AP Photo/David Zalubowski

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Award season is nearly upon us, and the NHL released its finalists for the Selke trophy, given out each year to the top defensive forward.

The finalists for this season are Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings, Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks, and Jordan Staal of the Penguins. Absent from the list is Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks.

“He’s new as far as being considered [for it] around the league,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “I don’t think he got much consideration for that the last couple of years. Watching him play in the Olympics and having an appreciation for him day in and day out, you know he can play on both sides of the puck.”

Toews’ Plus-22 was 14th in the league among forwards. His 57 percent faceoff percentage was good for seventh in the league.

“He can kill penalties, and his strength in the faceoff circle is something we appreciate as well,” Quenneville said. “I think Johnny will mature and be considered in that role.”

One teammate thinks Toews will be a finalist someday, depending on his linemates.

“Maybe it’s my fault, because he was playing with me all year,” Patrick Kane joked.

Datsyuk has won the award the last two seasons. The winner will be announced at the NHL awards on June 23.