Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K Subban will be announced during the Stanley Cup final as the winner of the 2013 James Norris Memorial Trophy, Hockey Central insider Nick Kypreos confirms:
Subban will be crowned as the top defenceman in the NHL during a 7 p.m. ET television special leading into Game 2 of the final on Saturday.
The 23-year-old Subban bettered fellow nominees Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild. All three players were Norris Trophy finalists for the first time.
Subban topped NHL defencemen in scoring with 38 points (11 goals, 27 assists) in 42 games this season. The Toronto native, who served as a part-time analyst for Sportsnet during the lockout, led all blue-liners in power-play scoring with 26 points (7-19) and ranked second on the Canadiens in points, plus-minus (plus-12) and average ice time per game (23:14).
“He’s a young defenceman who improves a lot,” Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said at the time of his nomination. “He’s only 23 years old. (He’s made) a nice progression. We like the way that he’s playing for us. He’s a lot more dependable that he was a few years ago, and that’s a good sign. He’s getting better and better and (the nomination) is well deserved.”
Subban’s achievements are impressive, especially considering missed the first six games of the season while getting a two-year contract signed and needed some time to find his legs and adapt to Therrien’s system.
“It’s great for him. I think he deserves it. He had a fantastic year,” fellow Canadiens blue-liner Josh Gorges said. “I think with everything that went on at the start of the year he really came with a good attitude. He wanted to prove he’s an elite player and I think the way he played this year, he proved it.”
(with files from CP)