With the regular season heading into its last weekend, the debates for individual awards are about to get into full swing. While what takes place on the ice during the postseason is obviously more important, the body of work during the regular season will be what is explored as far as the award season is concerned.
When it comes to naming the best defenseman in the NHL, the choices have managed to become fewer in the past couple of weeks. What looked like a wide open field can be narrowed down to a few big names, almost all of which are guys that haven’t been in the Norris Trophy discussion in the past couple of years.
One player that could be considered a Norris favorite is entering that type of talk for the first time in his career. But where would the Montreal Canadiens be this year if it weren’t for the play of P.K. Subban?
After missing a bit of time early on this season, due to contract negotiations, Subban has been absolute dynamite for the Habs. Their defensive group is one of the highest scoring blue line units in the league, and Subban is a tremendous reason as to how they’ve managed to take such a large step forward as a team this season.
Subban’s 38 points are tops among defensemen this season. His 11 goals are the best among blue liners and his 27 assists come in third on the year. He’s maintained an incredibly steady pace this year and has been a weapon on the power play in particular. Of his 38 points, 26 have come with the Habs on the man advantage.
He’s at a plus-10 on the season as far as his plus/minus is concerned, but looking at the advanced numbers, his Corsi is also very, very good. He’s sitting up over plus-13 in Corsi, which is easily the best on the team among defensemen.
Subban has always projected as a future star, but few expected Subban to take this type of leap this early. He’s been fantastic for the Canadiens this year and is an enormous reason why they’ve gone from bottom of the Eastern Conference to a legitimate Stanley Cup threat.
It’ll be tough to fend off the likes of Ryan Suter, given the difference in minutes played per game, but with what P.K. Subban brings to both ends of the ice should help to give him an edge in the race for the Norris Trophy and the prestige that goes along with it.