This is my favorite but also one of the most difficult topics to talk about, the Norris trophy. I do not agree with the way voting works, basically, whoever has the most points win, being a defenseman, I love watching these guys play, their tendencies, what they do in certain situations, how they handle the power play, etc. The Norris, in my opinion, should be based on points but also the defenseman with the most impact to the team, a player who plays top minutes, does all the little things right and is producing when his team is struggling. A player that is more than just points, he’s an all-around player.
This season we have a different Norris outlook right now the top five for points are Alex Pietrangelo and John Klingberg tied at 19, Kevin Shattenkirk. Morgan Reilly, Mike Green, Erik Karlsson and John Carlson tied at 17. The usual candidates like Doughty, Hedman, Burns are not even in the conversation right now, which is awesome. We are seeing other defenseman display their skills and take over the lead for their teams. Hedman has 15 points in 20 games(7 are power play points), Doughty started off hot, but has regressed in a sense, he has 14 points in 21 games and Brent Burns is looking like a total bust at this point, he’s yet to record a goal and has 7 points in 20 games and is ranked 68th among defenseman right now, yikes.
Anyways here are three favorites for the Norris, it is pretty obvious.
Erik Karlsson: Karlsson missed five games this season and in just 14 games has 17 points. This man is a class of his own, he truly is the best defenseman in the league and it is going to be pretty hard to take the Norris from him. With Hedman and Burns not producing as much as we thought, Karlsson looks to be a favorite. He is the most important piece to this Ottawa team and every time he is on the ice, he carries such a presence that everybody has to keep an eye on him or you may catch yourself chasing his tail.
John Klingberg: I am honestly happy to hear Klingberg name this season, he had a solid rookie season, improved his sophomore year, then decreased a tad his third year. Now during his fourth year, he has progressed into a top-two defenseman for sure. With the experience, he has now and his offensive ability, Klingberg carries a special skill level when it comes to skating the puck and leading the power play. This Dallas team needs Klingberg desperately right now too with Marc Methot out four to six weeks, Klingberg is back to leading this blue line with the other young guns around him. Klingberg is a leader and top defenseman in the league now and someone who will be in the Norris talk for years to come.
Alex Pietrangelo: Major dark horse this season. With Shattenkirk gone we all figured Pietrangelo would step in and take charge, I just don’t think anyone expected this type of production. Pietrangelo has 19 points on the season and is hands down the most important piece to the Blues back end. He plays with an edge similar to Drew Doughty, but I would even say he plays a more physical game, not as flashy but he posses a strong shot and takes command when he is out there. Pietrangelo will for sure continue this production and be someone in the Norris mix all season.
Consideration: Roman Josi