The NHL announced this year’s finalists for the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman Monday. None of the three – Montreal’s P.K. Subban, Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson and L.A.’s Drew Doughty – were finalists last season, speaking to the depth of elite blueliners in the game today.
The NHL announced its three finalists in Norris Trophy voting this season – Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, Montreal’s P.K. Subban and Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty – and the fact none of the three were finalists in 2013-14 says something about the calibre of defenseman currently working in hockey’s top league.
Last year’s Norris finalists were Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, Predators counterpart Shea Weber, and Blackhawks star (and eventual winner) Duncan Keith, the latter two of whom will receive a significant amount of votes in this year’s balloting. Two of those three players (Keith and Chara) already have at least one Norris win to his credit, and the same goes for this year’s group of finalists: the 24-year-old Karlsson, who had a career-best 21 goals and 66 points in 82 games this year, won his first Norris in 2011-12; and the 25-year-old Subban, who posted career highs in goals (15) and points (60) in 82 games this season, won his first Norris in 2012-13. Only the 25-year-old Doughty (who amassed seven goals and 46 points in 82 games) has yet to win a Norris despite being a two-time finalist, but he’s earned a pair of Stanley Cup rings with the Kings, and Subban and Karlsson would swap their individual awards in a second to get their hands on one of them.
In addition to Weber and Keith, there are other elite D-men worthy of Norris consideration this season, including Calgary’s Mark Giordano, Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang and Weber’s teammate in Nashville, Roman Josi. But the sentimental favorite now has to be Doughty, who deserves one as much as any NHLer.