Florida Panthers’ Aleksander Barkov a Selke Trophy finalist for third time in four seasons

The announcement was expected, but it was still a moment of honor for Aleksander Barkov.

For the third time in four seasons, the Florida Panthers’ captain was named a finalist for the NHL’s Selke Trophy, which is given annually to the league’s best two-way forward.

Barkov won the award in 2021 and was also a finalist in 2022.

Toronto’s Auston Matthews and Carolina’s Jordan Staal are the other finalists.

“It means a lot,” Barkov said Sunday shortly after the announcement was made. “Every year, I’m just trying to try to do my job and be as good as possible defensively and offensively. Playing in a good team with good systems and great teammates, that helps, too. It means a lot. It’s a great thing for sure.”

Just how good has Barkov been on both ends of the ice this season? The numbers do a good job at telling the story.

In 73 regular-season games this season, Barkov put up 80 points (23 goals, 57 assists). He led all Panthers forwards with a plus-33 rating and had a career-high 57.3 faceoff win percentage. He ranked second on the team in assists (57), third in points (80) and power-play points (29), and fourth in goals (23).

Meanwhile, he led all NHL skaters who skated in at least 70 games this season in on-ice goals for percentage at five-on-five play (69.7 percent), with Florida outscoring opponents 53-23 when Barkov was on the ice in full-strength situations.

“There are a handful of guys ... that are willing to let their offense be less noticed,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “Everybody knows your good offensive players who can make incredible plays, but I don’t think he comes to the rink with a mind set of showing it. He comes to the rink to help his team win, so his decisions are always just solid hockey. He’s on the right side of the puck. He’s capable of great things offensively, but he prioritizes winning.”