Well, well, well would look at this here. The NHL once again snubbed players for the Norris trophy. Year after year this happens and this year they messed up BIG time.
This year’s finalists are Drew Doughty(LAK), Victor Hedman(TBL) and P.K. Subban (NSH)
Doughty ended the year with 10 goals, 50 assists, 60 points ranked 7th among defenseman in points, playing all 82 games also not to mention. 11th among defenseman in plus/minus with a +23, tied for 16th for power-play points with 20 points. Finally ranked 1st for the defenseman with 26:50 average time on ice.
Victor Hedman played 77 games this season ranked 5th among defenseman with 63 points, 17 goals and 46 assists, second among plus/minus with a +32, 5th for power-play points with 26, lastly 5th among defenseman for time on ice per game with 25:51.
P.K. Subban played 82 games this season, ranked 9th among defenseman with 16 goals and 43 assists, ranked 20th in plus/minus with a +18 rating, ranked 7th for power-play points with 25 and 21st for time ice per game with 24:07.
What is the fuss? Oh well, the fact John Carlson nor John Klingberg were finalists is the fuss. At least one of them for christ sake. If you look at the supporting cast of all these finalists how could they not perform to be the best in the league year in and year out? In L.A. you have Doughty playing alongside Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez, the late addition of Dion Phaneuf, Derek Forbort(not terrible, had 18 points this season), Christian Folin(again not bad had 13 points in 65 games). Either way, the Kings have four very solid defenseman that supplements Doughty quite well. Yes, he is the driving factor in L.A. and keeps the ship afloat but it does not hurt when you have two defensemen next to you that produce and can line up with other top forwards in the league. Now the Lighting and Victor Hedman, I mean cmon, the guy had Kucherov, Stamkos, Palat, Johnson, Point, Gourde, Killron, Miller up front to give the puck to can’t be too hard to get assists. And again yes Hedman is unbelievable without a doubt I am not saying he does not deserve it, but there are other guys that could have possibly been nominated. On top of playing with Ryan McDonagh later in the year and Mikhail Sergachev also, Anton Stralman is no slump and as much as you want to think it but Dan Girardi is a solid defenseman in that system Tampa plays. Do we even need to discuss PK Subban here, the Predators are absolute powerhouses of the league and were all year. On top of having one the best top nine in the NHL. Subban then played alongside the best d-core in the NHL. With Mattias Ekholm, Roman Josi(top-10 defenseman), Ryan Ellis, Alexi Emelin, Yannick Weber, literally a backend that is LOADED. Subban played great, and I love him but don’t think he is worthy of this nomination though.
Why John Carlson or John Klingberg? OK, well you look at Washington’s back end last year with Nate Schmidt and Karl Alzner all season plus Kevin Shattenkirk for 19 games, the Capitals then had Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen, John Carlson and Dimitry Orlov a very reliable back end. Take away Karl Alzner a guy who ate major minutes for them and played a HUGE role on that back end in most if not all big situations. Then Nate Schmidt who had 17 points in 60 games last year but his time in Washington was usually a consist 15-20 points. Then add in Shattenkirk for 19 games who took Carlson’s job on the power play when he came to D.C. so Carlson’s production was obviously bound to drop. Well, now you start the year, with Taylor Chorney, Madison Bowey, Christian Djoos, Micahel Kempny with Carlson, then add a 31-year-old Niskanen, and 37-year-old Orpik, on top of a very inexperienced Orlov who coming into the year had only two full years in the league under his belt and coming off a career year.
Carlson was basically asked to run the power play, ok increased power play production by 16 points, average 2.5 more minutes from last season without taking on more shifts. Played the most minutes among the Capitals defense by two minutes, a close second was Niskanen. And even though Carlson was not in the top 10 for time on ice per game he still produced the most points for a defenseman outscoring all defenseman besides Klingberg or Hedman by either 4-5 points. Not to mention he was not on the Lightning an Atlantic powerhouse or the Predators an NHL powerhouse. I am not discrediting any of these finalists but the numbers are clear, yes Carlson was on the Capitals and they won the Metropolitan but by no means were they a powerhouse of the NHL. They went through a lot of roster changes and asked some guys to step up, i.e. Carlson and look what he did. Went from 37 points in 72 games to 68 in 82 games. Carlson led all defenseman in points, ranked 2nd for power play points(32), 4th among assists and tied 8th for goals(15).
Case for John Klingberg now, this one is very obvious. This guy was expected to play a major role after Dallas had a terrible season in 2016-17 and added Alex Radulov to supplement Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. Also, Ben Bishop to give them a reliable starter. Dallas expected Klingberg to turn it around especially since he had 49 points in 2016-17 after producing 58 in 2015-16, therefore a lot of pressure was on Klingberg and the Stars had sights on the playoffs and more. Although they missed the playoffs by a few points due to Ben Bishop and other reasons, the Stars still had a better season this year than 2016-17. As well did Klingberg, who produced 67 points an 18 point increase from last season. Plus, who did this guy even have alongside him? Marc Methot who missed the whole season basically. Esa Lindell a young defenseman who produced well actually, Dan Hamhuis, who yes is a solid defenseman. Perhaps Stephen Johns or Greg Pateryn. Ok, so Klingberg had one or two defensemen who could supplement him and play alongside him to his kind of level and or capability. Klingberg ranked top four among his team in points and only trailed Radulov by 5 points. Klingberg not only ranked among the top for this team but also was 2nd among all defenseman in points, first in assists, tied 40th for goals, 14th for power-play points with 23 and 22nd for time on ice per game.
It seems like this happens too often it seems like Doughty and Hedman are literally just shoe-ins at this point. Switch it up, recongize some other players, the thor looking guy will sell tickets and get fans but give me a break. Yeah Doughty and his toothless smile and snarky attitude will get attention but the dedicated and actual hockey fans want to see something get called right here. Already ruining the playoffs with all these suspensions.