Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Norris Nominations

It appears as though its a real changing of the guard for this year's Norris contenders, out with the old and in with the new. No more perennial favorite Nick Lidstrom hogging up all the votes, and Scott Niedermayer's beard is probably going to have a lot more gray in it as those two ride into the sunset known as the Hall. And last year's winner, big Zdeno Chara, has had a small year in terms of offensive production, leaving a new crop of blueliners to claim the top defenseman of the year.

Mike Green was actually a candidate for last year's award but was unceremoniously snubbed (mainly for looking like Rick Vaughn at the awards ceremony), as Boston earned their third trophy of the night. Leading all defensemen in goals (17), assists (53), and therefore points with 70, and is second among defensemen in plus/minus with +30 behind teammate Jeff Schultz (for what its worth). Green is definetely one of the premier offensive defensemen in the League on a very offensively potent team, but his strengths in his own end have been criticized.

Duncan Keith, on the other hand, is gifted on both sides of the puck, second in points (65, 13G, 52A) behind Green, while logging time in all situations. In fact he's second in time on ice with 26:45, with 3 goals on the power play, and one shorthanded, no easy feat. He's solid positionally, and he's known for both his breakout pass, and his shutdown abilities.

Drew Doughty, the second overall draft pick in the 2008 Draft, made the Kings roster in the following season as an 18 year old. He was twice voted the OHL's top offensive defenseman in Juniors, and has continued that success in the NHL ranked third in points with 53 (14G, 39A). He has emerged as a leader from the back end on a very young, and promising Los Angeles team, but may have some time before he earns the Norris.

The Norris Trophy is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association and will therefore have some bullshit tied to it. The most common inclination is that the award will be handed over to Mike Green, who already earned a nomination last year which exists as a non-spoken formality in the voting.

The better choice in my mind would be Duncan Keith who is a complete player and not a liability in his own end. The award is given to the top defenseman "who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position," not just offensive contribution.

Doughty has a long, successful career in front of him and will no doubt see many more nominations in the future, but will have to put in his time to show consistency in his game.

I'd also like to point out that both Keith and Doughty were selected to play for Team Canada at the Olympics this year by Steve Yzerman et al., while Green was left off. I think that was a smart decision on Canada's part, and I think it may go a long way in determining the winner of top defenseman of the League.


walkinvisible said...

having watched the mini documentary on the making of the olympic team (canada), i know that the last spot came down to doughty v. jaybouw, and i think stevieY et al. made the right choice.

no disrespect to jaybouw but doughty's got a bigger offensive toolbox (in the hockey way). and i think he's got a bigger defensive toolbox than mike green.

ie: i think doughty will get a nomination, here, because he's an elite two-way defenseman and those are effin' RARE.... going against him, of course, is the fact that he's so young....

Nuuuuugs said...

Very true, but do you think Doughty's getting the nod for lack of a better choice? JBouw hasn't put up nearly the kind of year that everyone was expecting, and I know how you'd like to throw Gio (and his toolbox) in the conversation but I don't think he gets enough praise AROUND the League. Then again, he is a viable contender, and I wouldn't be surprised to see his name in the mix.

PS - I know when you say "his toolbox" you really mean "his junk."

walkinvisible said...

if gio gets a norris nomination i'll go into shock.

and yes, toolbox means whatever you want. :)