The NHL has announced the finalists for the Norris Trophy, awarded “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.” The three finalists are:
Chara, captain of the Bruins, had a great year offensively this season. He tallied 52 points, good for fourth among defensemen, and 12 of those were goals. Playing 25 minutes per game, Chara was third in the league for plus-minus with +33, which matches his sweater number. His tall, heavy-hitting presence contributed to 166 hits this season. In January he captained Team Chara to an All-Star Game victory (and famously made teammate Tyler Seguin sweat in the draft before asking him to hug it out). That was his sixth All-Star Game appearance. He also hit the 1,000 game mark in March.
Karlsson has had a standout season. His 78 points are 10th in the entire league and the best for any blueliner. He led all defensemen in goals, assists and points and set team records for defenseman goals, assists, points and game-winning goals. His plus-minus rating of +16, compared to last year’s -30, shows how far he’s come. He also appeared at the All-Star Game, playing beside his captain, Masterton nominee Daniel Alfredsson.
Weber, captain of the Predators, tied Karlsson’s 19 goals and had a career-best season of 49 points (sixth in the league). He excels on the power play: his 10 man-advantage goals are best among blueliners, but he’s also often seen when the Predators are killing a penalty. He has a +21 rating, 177 hits and 140 blocked shots to his name. Plus, he’s usually seen out there against the best the opposition has to offer. He too was at the All-Star Game, blasting a 106 mph slap shot in the Fastest Shot competition and playing on Team Alfredsson.
This award’s winner is selected by a Professional Hockey Writers Association vote and will be announced at the NHL Awards on June 20. Next up on the finalists reveal: the Hart Trophy on April 27.