by PuckStopsHere on 03/13/11 at 12:43 AM ET
In late October I picked Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins as the Norris Trophy leader. Letang has done a wonderful job of having a breakout season that makes him a Norris Trophy candidate, but he has been caught. He has been caught by Lubomir Visnovsky of the Anaheim Ducks. Visnovsky would be a much bigger name player if he had played in the East Conference. He is a very talented defenceman who has spent his career in markets that don’t play until the eastern sportswriters go to bed.
This season he is tied for the league lead in scoring among defencemen. He has the second best +/- rating on his team, while playing against a high level of competition. He leads Anaheim in ice time and has been hugely important to the Ducks puck control. I think he has been the best defenceman so far this year, in a rather tight race with several participants.
The Norris Trophy race doesn’t have a clear leader. I would expect that given that situation, the award will likely be decided using past seasons and reputation as a tie breaker. This probably gives Nicklas Lidstrom the edge, despite his dropoff in even strength success and puck possession numbers because he is a six time Norris Trophy winner. Visnovsky doesn’t have the same past track record. In fact he has only appeared in one career NHL All Star Game, though he has been overlooked several times (most recently this season). I think that Visnovsky is the defenceman who most deserves the Norris Trophy right now, but given the selection methods it is likely he won’t be the actual winner.
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