Malhotra is still the best pure defensive center in the game right now, constantly facing the offensive stars of the opposition. Malhotra is ninth in the League among forwards in blocked shots with 39 and second in faceoff percentage at 63.6. His plus-2 isn't going to blow anyone away, but it's very impressive considering the level of competition he faces every night.
Defensive play is always difficult to quantify, but Kesler is a plus-17 and winning 57.9 per cent of his faceoffs. And though offensive numbers officially aren’t part of the equation, they equate to attention, which can equate to votes from the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. Kesler has 23 goals and 40 points already, putting him on pace for 46 goals and 80 points. His career highs: 26 goals, 75 points.
Cotsonica makes a good point about offensive numbers garnering votes. Malhotra is on pace for 34 points. The last Selke winner to score less points than that was Rick Meagher in 1990. Everyone else since (except Guy Carbonneau in 1992 - 39 points) had 40 points are more. I was going to post a poll but I won't. Kesler gets my vote hands down. What do you think?