by PuckStopsHere on 11/17/08 at 02:49 PM ET
I like to track the players who I think are the leaders for the NHL awards as the season progresses. In October, I picked Andrei Markov of the Montreal Canadiens as the top defenceman in the NHL. While Markov remains one of the top defenceman in the league this season, I think another defenceman has jumped to the forefront. He is Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators. He is the top scoring defenceman in hockey with 18 points in his 17 games. He leads his Nashville team in ice time and +/- playing over 24 minutes a game and sporting a +9 rating.
Weber has been considered a good prospect to be a defensive star, but nobody expected a Norris Trophy candidate season this year (or likely ever). He had a 40 point season in 2006/07. That was his first full NHL season, as his rookie year was limited to 28 games played. Last year, injuries held him to 54 games played with 20 points. He has almost duplicated his 20 points this season and it is still mid-November.
Shea Weber’s rise has been an unexpected bonus for the Nashville Predators. If he can continue to play at this level and win or contend for the Norris Trophy, the team will exceed pre-season expectations. It might take a performance like that for Nashville to qualify for the playoffs.
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