by PuckStopsHere on 02/05/12 at 04:02 PM ET
In mid-November, I picked Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators as the top defenceman in the league so far this season. In January after Weber had lost time to a concussion, I updated this pick to Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins. Now that Weber is back and healthy he has played himself back into the position of Norris Trophy front-runner.
Weber has 35 points which places him among the top scoring defenders in the league and second on his team. His +19 +/- rating leads his team. Weber is a dominant defenceman who has had more value to his team than any other. Zdeno Chara and Nicklas Lidstrom are other contenders for this award but neither has as many points or a team leading +/- rating. Erik Karlsson is also worthy of mention since he is the dominant offensive defenceman in the league but he is not nearly as strong in his own zone.
Shea Weber is a solid candidate to be the NHL’s next great defenceman. He has already played in the Olympics and received a Norris Trophy nomination and looks ready to win Norris Trophies in the future. The main question is where he might do it. It isn’t clear that he will stay in Nashville when he reaches unrestricted free agency. Shea Weber could be the most dominant free agent signing in NHL history. He has that potential.
It was expected that the liberalized free agency in the current CBA would lead to top free agents hitting the market at younger ages. This would allow teams to buy success. Thus far these players have not hit the market. Shea Weber could be the most significant of these players. His signing by any team should go a long way toward making them a contender. He is the current front-runner for the Norris Trophy and likely to be on the market as a free agent in a couple of years.
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