Always the subject of intense debate, the Norris Trophy has been handed out since 1954, and goes to the defenseman "who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position" as voted upon by the members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
Often, flashy offensive totals carry the day, since defensive contributions are difficult to quantify, and this year the three top scorers among blueliners are up for the prize. Bobby Orr won eight times as a member of the Boston Bruins, topping the career lists.
This year, however, we're guaranteed a first-time victor. The finalists are...
#58 / Defenseman / Pittsburgh Penguins
Apr 24, 1987
|2012 - Kris Letang||35||5||33||38||+16||8||1||0||1||95||5.2|
Letang tied for the league lead in defense scoring with P.K. Subban, but missed seven games along the way due to injury (leaving him tops among defenseman, and 11th in the league overall, in points per game). He also led the Penguins to the top record in the Eastern Conference.
#76 / Defenseman / Montreal Canadiens
May 13, 1989
|2012 - P.K. Subban||42||11||27||38||+12||57||7||0||0||126||8.7|
Subban combined outstanding offensive results with his brash, physical style of play, and helped Montreal win the Northeast Division for the first time since 2008.
#20 / Defenseman / Minnesota Wild
Jan 21, 1985
|2012 - Ryan Suter||48||4||28||32||+2||24||3||0||1||91||4.3|
Suter validated the massive contract Minnesota gave him in Year One, leading the league in ice time and placing 3rd among defensemen in scoring while helping the Wild return to the playoffs for the first time in five years.
OTF Staff Picks
|Dirk||Kris Letang||PK Subban||Ryan Suter||Francois Beauchemin||Zdeno Chara||Subban's PK work was pretty bad, so I'll give the nod to Letang.|
|Sam||PK Subban||Kris Letang||Drew Doughty||Oliver Ekman-Larsson||Zdeno Chara||Suter sucks. But seriously, I don't think he was even that good this year.|
|Caroline||PK Subban||Ryan Suter||Kris Letang||Shea Weber (just because I can (this totally does not at all make me feel like a passive aggressive 10-year-old))||Oliver Ekman-Larsson||I just don't want Suter to win. I'm angry and bitter. (Tiny rant: we need 2 defense awards; one for offensive dmen and one for defensive dmen.)|
|Jonathan||PK Subban||Ryan Suter||Kris Letang||Keith Yandle||Zdeno Chara||Honestly, they could split the trophy in half for PK and Suter. Both were driving forces for their teams turnaround from last year, and both had their highs and triple-lows.|
|Chris||PK Subban||Ryan Suter||Kris Letang||John Carlson||Alex Pietrangelo||Norris voting was classless last year when Weber didn't win. Only going to to get more classless this year (reference to HF Boards Classless Subbans)|
|George||Ryan Suter||PK Subban||Kris Letang||Duncan Keith||Zdeno Chara||Suter had a slow start to the season on the scoresheet, but that shouldn't matter for the Norris Trophy. He also had some chemistry issues with his new teammates, but eventually sorted things out. Suter plays monster minutes and wound up near tops in scoring categories among defensemen.|
|Jason||PK Subban||Kris Letang||Ryan Suter||Drew Doughty||Zdeno Chara||Subban seems to play with the most rage. That's what I like.|