With so many solid defencemen in the NHL these days, the Norris Trophy race is anyone’s game. Here are five standout contenders at the halfway mark.
Mark Giordano, Calgary – 10 goals, 26 assists, 36 points, +16
Much of the Flames’ unexpected success this season can be credited to their captain, Mark Giordano. (And, well, a kid named Johnny Hockey has been pretty great, too.) Not only is the veteran blueliner currently fourth in goals by a defenceman (10) and in second place for total points (36), he’s also leading his team the best way a captain can – by example. He makes everyone around him better – a fact that’s especially evident when you watch his fellow Flames rearguards, T.J. Brodie and Dennis Wideman.
No big deal:
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles – 4 goals, 20 assists, 24 points, +/- 0
Can somebody please just give this man an award already? With a six-year career scoring total of 63 goals and 248 points, it’s hard to believe the 25-year-old has not yet won the Norris. Doughty has been such a consistently strong force in Los Angeles at the blueline and beyond throughout his seven seasons with the Kings and has evoked many comparisons to legendary defenceman and eight-time Norris Trophy winner Bobby Orr. Surely it’s only a matter of time until he holds the trophy for himself.
Highlight of the 2014-15 season: Drew Doughty as Bobby Orr:
Shea Weber, Nashville – 10 goals, 19 assists, 29 points, +15
Shea Weber has been a constant force for the Nashville Predators, and this year is no exception. Now that the Predators have caught up with their captain, it might finally be time for Weber to collect his first Norris Trophy. Plus, when you have a slap shot like he does, you definitely deserve some hardware.
Highlight of the 2014-15 season: The fact that his slapshot inspired a horror movie. Well, sort of.
Duncan Keith, Chicago – 6 goals, 20 assists, 26 points, +12
He’s baaack. The defending Norris Trophy winner is off to another solid start. Consider this: Last year, Duncan Keith’s six goals and 55 assists for 61 points earned him his second Norris Trophy. This year, he’s already tied last season’s goal total and he’s not slowing down anytime soon.
If he succeeds in defending his title, it would be his third Norris Trophy. (His seven goals and 38 assists for 45 points earned him the honour in 2010, too.)
Highlight of the 2014-15 season: Down 3-0 to the Nashville Predators, the Blackhawks pulled off the comeback win on Dec. 29, led by Keith’s three-assist night.
Kevin Shattenkirk, STL – 7 goals, 30 assists, 37 points, +18
Shattenkirk is currently leading the league’s defencemen in points — a stat that is made all the more impressive by the fact that no one was expecting it.
Statistically speaking, last year was Shattenkirk’s best, with 10 goals and 35 assists for 45 points. This year, he’s just eight points away from matching his top season and we’re only halfway through. He’s certainly one to watch.
Highlight of the 2014-15 season: The Blues have the San Jose Sharks’ number this season, winning back-to-back 7-2 games against them. In the first one, Shattenkirk shined, having a one-goal, three-assist night.
Honourable mentions: John Carlson, Brent Burns, P.K. Subban, Erik Karlsson, Dustin Byfuglien.