One week after Anze Kopitar was named the Los Angeles Kings' captain, he became the franchise's first Selke Trophy winner Wednesday night at the NHL Awards show in Las Vegas.
The Selke goes to the NHL's best defensive forward. Kopitar has been the Kings' leading scorer for nine consecutive seasons, but the Slovenian center's willingness to embrace coach Darryl Sutter's defense-first mindset was a major reason for Los Angeles' run to two Stanley Cup titles in three years from 2012-14.
Kopitar led all NHL forwards in ice time, averaging nearly 21 minutes per game, while finishing second in the league with a plus-34 rating. His puck possession skills and backchecking acumen were key factors in the Kings finishing third in the league in team defense.
Kopitar was a finalist for the award in each of the previous three seasons. He beat out three-time winner Patrice Bergeron of Boston and Anaheim's Ryan Kesler, the 2011 winner.