Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk, of Russia, practices in Detroit, Thursday, June 11, 2009. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Paul Sancya)
LAS VEGAS - Pavel Datsyuk is the NHL's top defensive forward again.
The Detroit Red Wings centre was given the Selke Trophy for a second straight year in voting conducted by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. He beat out Philadelphia's Mike Richards and Vancouver's Ryan Kesler.
Datsyuk is arguably the best two-way player in the game right now.
He was second in the NHL in takeaways (89), third overall with a plus-34 rating and fourth in scoring with 97 points.
The two guys he beat for the Selke were nominated for the first time.
Richards was tops among Philadelphia forwards with 21:44 of ice time per game and finished second on the team with a plus-22 rating. He also led the NHL with seven short-handed goals.
Kesler was equally as valuable to the Canucks, leading the team in takeaways (74) and faceoff proficiency (54 per cent).
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Datsyuk took it in back-to-back years. Rod Brind'Amour, Jere Lehtinen, Guy Carbonneau and Bob Gainey have all won it twice in a row in the past.