Leafs: Mitch Marner’s case for the Selke

Photo credit:Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Steitzer
11 months ago
Prior to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Game 1 loss to the Florida Panthers, the club had some positive news come in. Mitch Marner was named one of the three Selke finalists alongside Nico Hischier and perennial favourite Patrice Bergeron. While I can certainly appreciate the PHWA’s narrative-driven desire to hand Patrice Bergeron the Selke potentially one last time, the case for Mitch Marner goes beyond the average voter’s process of sorting forwards PK time in descending order and going with the first three names with decent point totals. I kid, I kid, no one is checking Bergeron’s stats anymore, he’s just tossed on every Selke ballot as a free space, but for those who did put in some due diligence on their candidates, here are how some Selke-driven numbers stack up for the finalists.
PK TOI/GP2:171:462:06
CA/60 5v552.1948.4254.01
CF% 5v553.3359.8055.03
GA/60 5v52.051.222.19
GF% 5v562.1471.8861.00
xGA/60 5v52.422.062.28
xG% 5v555.1863.2159.79
TOI% vs. Elite36.4039.3035.50
So when it comes to the underlying defensive numbers, it is still hard to go against what Bergeron is doing. Very few chances occur when he’s on the ice and the goals against when he’s out there are absolutely absurd. Hischier and Marner both have incredibly strong numbers, but Bergeron is otherworldly in some measures.
Step back into the numbers that the majority of hockey writers are going to look at though and all of a sudden you can see where Marner might have a real chance at winning this. He spends more time on the PK than the other two, he’s consistent with them both when it comes to hits and blocked shots, which really don’t seem to matter much but I’m tossing them in there anyway, and then Mitch clearly stands out when it comes to takeaways. Takeaways are certainly the Mitch Marner defensive hockey signature move and the fact that so many of them were memorable will also earn him favour with the strictly eye test voter.
The other aspect is that it is the best two way player and Marner led the trio in points and was second to Hischier in goals. If anything works against Bergeron it would be the offensive output, but it’s not like his numbers are so low that he won’t get his usual consideration, maybe just fewer first place votes.
When looking at goals above replacement, Marner’s case again looks a little stronger than the competition even if it also does highlight some players like Elias Pettersson and Jared McCann who likely deserved consideration for the Selke as well.
Whether it happens or not, there is a case to be made for Mitch Marner actually taking home the hardware and it is also entirely possible that the number of eyes that are regularly on the Leafs could work to Mitch’s advantage as well.
The winner will be announced June 26th and until then Mitch Marner and the Leafs can focus on a far more important trophy to win.
Data sourced from Evolving Hockey, Natural Stat Trick, PuckIQ, and NHL.com

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