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Top Defenceman

Nearing the end of February I picked Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins as the Norris Trophy leader.  He took over from Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators who suffered an Achilles injury.  Letang too has fallen to injury.  He hasn't played in slightly over a week.  That leaves us in a situation where there isn't a clear front-runner for the Norris Trophy, yet somebody still must win it. 

A look at the top scorers among defencemen gives us PK Subban, Ryan Suter and Niklas Kronwall.  None of them is among the strongest defensive players in the league.  There is room for a strong defensive defenceman who is a little back of these guys as the Norris Trophy leader.  That is where I pick Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators.

Weber had a slow start offensively but he is making up for it now.  He is currently eighth among defencemen with 23 points.  His defence remains strong as always.  Weber is second in ice time in the NHL.  He stands 13 seconds behind Brian Campbell.  He plays against the toughest competition of any Nashville defenceman and has as good a +/- as any Nashville defenceman.  His +4 rating doesn't stand out because Nashville hasn't been a strong team this season.  They are well back of a playoff berth and have allowed more goals than they have scored.

It shouldn't be a shock that I am picking Shea Weber as the Norris Trophy leader.  He is a multiple time runner up in the past and was picked by many people to win this year.   I am the only person that I have seen picking him this season.  He has been forgotten because of a slow start.  He has made up for that with his play of the last several weeks.  In a shortened season it is quite an accomplishment to get back into the Norris Trophy race despite a slow start.  It is a clear showing of Shea Weber's talent. 

I would argue that nobody should win the Norris Trophy this season.  Since somebody must win it this season I support Shea Weber.  That shouldn't surprise anyone given his past few years but nevertheless I think it does.  He has been written off by many after a slow start this season.

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Comments

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Isn’t PK Subban among the best defensive players in the League?

The Shut Down index from Pension Plan Puppets has him sixth, one behind Weber:

http://www.pensionplanpuppets.com/2013/3/26/4130046/Defense-Shut-Down-Index-Advanced-Statistics

Of course it is not a perfect proxy for defensive skill, but I think it suggests that Subban is good enough defensively to win a Norris given his offensive performance this season.

Posted by captaineclectic on 04/09/13 at 07:34 AM ET

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I would argue that nobody should win the Norris Trophy this season.

So true.

With the short season and so many early favorites (Karlsson and Letang for the Norris, Crosby for the Hart, Andersson for the Vezina) getting derailed by injury it seems like almost all the major awards are wide open this year, with no clear favorites and no players really putting up elite numbers over a full (shortened) season.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 04/09/13 at 09:33 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

Crosby is still leading the scoring race, despite being injured. He’s still a deserving MVP candidate.

Karlsson getting hurt was a real bummer. He is one of the only D in the league now that is truly fun to watch, IMO. I don’t say that to take away from how good Chara or Weber (or a handful of other top D) are, but Karlsson is just more fun to watch to me.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 04/09/13 at 10:03 AM ET

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Crosby almost certainly remains the outright leader RIGHT NOW, but barring a surprising return I doubt he will be by season’s end. He’ll be caught and passed for the points lead by a handful of players, most or all of whom will have many more goals than he does. And despite Crosby’s impressive all-around game, I think by the end of the year it will be hard to argue that he was worth more wins to his team in 36 games than a guy like Kane, Toews, Ovechkin or Stamkos was worth in 48, though Crosby won’t be too far off the lead even still.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 04/09/13 at 12:40 PM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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