NHL Awards: Norris Trophy 2019

Mark Giordano Should 100 Percent Win The Norris Trophy This Season

I know your thoughts after reading this title are probably either, (1) I am a moron or (2) you think I am going some where with this. Hear me out, I am not saying he is going to win the Norris trophy as in he is a shoe-in and no one else compares but, what I am saying is that he should win it.

Taking a look at the other candidates and top defenseman in the NHL at the moment they are all in their mid-late twenties or early thirties and then there is Mark Giordano who is 35-years-old, a 14-year veteran and still producing at same rate as a mid-twenty year old.

Giordano is having one of the best seasons of his career, he is on pace to well exceed his 2015-16 when he had 21 goals and 56 points in 82 games. Giordano has 52 points in 49 games (1.06 points per game), leads all defenseman in plus/minus (+29), second in assists (41) among all defenseman, tied third among all defenseman in goals (11), second in points (52), tied sixth in power play points (18), and 13th in time on ice among defenseman with 24:45.

Aside from all the “important” statistics that essentially decides the Norris trophy winner, what Giordano brings to the Flames in terms of leadership and experience has made them the team they are and a reason the Flames are currently 1st in their division and one of the best NHL teams right now.

Intangibly speaking Giordano has it all, a great leader, a great role model on and off the ice, plays the game well, never gets in trouble, leads the Flames back end year after year as well as the whole Flames team in general. Giordano has the full package and not to say the other defenseman like Brent Burns, John Carlson and Kris Letang don’t but Giordano is a 35-year-old defenseman playing like he is twenty years old still. With how quickly this game is changing in terms of speed and style of play, the fact Giordano can still dominate the blue line and be a top three defenseman in the NHL towards the end of his career and closer to 40-years-old then 30, is remarkable.

Get this one right NHL, if Giordano continues this pace and is a top-three defenseman at the end of the season. Do the right thing, make the right choice and pick your 2018-19 Norris Trophy winner to be Mark Giordano.


NHL Norris Trophy Race 2018-19

The NHL Norris trophy race

The Norris trophy race can be discussed now correct? We are about 30 games into the year, the All-Star break is coming and this is a perfect time to talk about the current race. We have seen a good sample size of 30 some odd games and it is getting to that  point in the year where we need to talk about it.

The Norris trophy has been flooded with Drew Doughty, Victor Hedman, Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns over the last several years. This year it is different, which is great to see, and the most surprising of the players leading the Norris race right now is Thomas Cabot.

Thomas Chabot, the 21-year-old defenseman in Ottawa is taking this race by storm. Chabot is not just the only defenseman in Ottawa who can play both sides really but the reason he needs to seriously be considered because look what team he is on! Ottawa is a struggling team, bottom of the league and it is not like he has much talent with him. Especially on the blue line Chabot has Ben Harpur (?) Maxime Lajoie and Cody Ceci so the fact this kid has 8 goals, 25 assists and 33 points in 31 games is unbelievable, plus he has just 9 power play points the fewest of all the top Norris candidates. Chabot is second among defenseman in assists, first in points, 20th in time on ice if he continues this production come June we may see our Norris winner.

Next up is John Carlson, a defenseman who got snubbed last year, not even being considered for the Norris continues his tear. Coming off a Stanley Cup season and the best year in his career. Carlson has not slowed down. On the year Carlson has 5 goals and 25 assists, 30 points in 28 games with 14 power play points averaging 25 minutes per game on the ice. Carlson has Ovechkin, Kuznestov and a solid team around him to help him collect apples. Sure feeding Ovechkin is not hard but he does a lot more than just feed Ovechkin. He is the anchor on the Capitals back end, a clear number one defenseman on the team, in conversation as a top-10 defenseman in the league and not only plays offensively sound but defensively he is just as good. I hope at some point when he collects another 65+ point year he gets some recognition for it. Carlson tallied 68 points last season he has 30 through 28 games therefore he is on pace to exceed his last year total by a wide margin.

NHL Norris Trophy race 2018-19
Morgan Reilly is among the top Norris Trophy candidates with 32 points in 30 games this season.

Morgan Reilly, there is enormous pressure on Reilly the assistant captain, the need for a number one defenseman in Toronto, the fans pressure in Toronto is probably indescribable so for that fact alone. Reilly needs to be in the discussion. Reilly came out of the gate flying this year, he has slowed down a bit but that does not takeaway from the fact that he has 32 points in 30 games with 9 goals and 23 assists. Reilly second among all defenseman with 9 goals, 5th among all defenseman in assists, second in points and 5th with power play points (12). Reilly has been a pretty consistent defenseman in Toronto coming off a 52 point year, his best in his career, he is on pace to well exceed that. Reilly is not a house hold name at this point but if he continues down this road and does not win this year, he will eventually walk away from his NHL career with one Norris trophy.

Mark Giordano, another player who has put in his dues, his time in the NHL and has finally come in the discussion for the Norris. Giordano is more known for his defensively sound game, being a shutdown defenseman who makes a great first pass and step out the zone. As the Flames offense evolves and Giordano continues to step into a big leadership role and his game offensively has soared this year. Giordano has 20 points in 29 games, 3 goals and 26 assists on the year. He leads all defenseman in assists, 9th in power play points (10), 4th in plus/minus (+16) and a clear impact on the Flames success this year. Giordano may be known for his charity work and defensive play but he has stepped into a bigger role this year that has propelled him into the Norris talk.

Keith Yandle, a offensive-defenseman a clear Norris candidate and a HUGE part to the Panthers power play and offensive success. Yandle has 28 points in 28 games, 5 goals and 23 assists. He leads all defenseman in power play points with 19, tied for the lead in power play goals (4) and 5th among all defenseman in assists. Another defenseman who has put his time in and has been a consistent power play specialists as well as offensive force on the back end. Yandle has had some concerns about his defensive game but he plays a solid defensive game and even if he doesn’t his offense makes up for it. Yandle’s best year in his 13-year career came in 2010-2011 where he tallied 59 points (11G, 48A) he is also coming off a 56 point year in 2017-18 (8G, 48A) as of now Yandle is expected to exceed his best year if he continues on this pace he could end the year with 82 points, unlikely but Yandle can easily be a 60 point player this year.

NHL Awards

Addressing NHL awards talk

Hall, Giroux for MVP…

Philadelphia Flyers vs Detroit Red Wings NBCSN

MVP, usually this award is given to the player who is the most important and valuable to his team, last years winner was Connor McDavid which is understandable, brought the Oilers from irrelevant to relevant in a season. And if we base last years winner to this years winner, we have to be considering Claude Giroux and Taylor Hall as the favorites right now, correct? I mean, look yes Kucherov is playing unreal but without him, the Lightning still has three to four high scoring players. And yes Malkin has been a Russian machine but again without him, the Penguins have Crosby and Kessel, plus Brassard now. If we look at the Devils line up who in the word pops out to you besides Hall, yes, no one. Hall has made his statement now and this 30-goal season and 26-game point streak are like his thesis to the league as to why he should be considered for the MVP. Hall has 74 points(Top-10) in 62 games, 44 assists and 30 goals(T-11). On top of that Hall has single handily brought this Devils team to be a contender for a playoff spot, where last season when he was injured it was evident they needed their star player back, well return a healthy Hall and now the Devils are finally a playoff team again. Giroux, same goes for him in a sense, the Flyers missed the playoffs last year and now with Giroux playing some his best hockey the Flyers are within a top three divisional spot and points out of the Metro lead. Giroux on the season has 79 points(T-4) and 56 assists(T-3) in 67 games. It is obvious while yes Voracek is one hell of a player this Flyers team feeds off the captain’s energy and performance and that is exactly what Giroux has done, performed unbelievably and has led this Flyers team back to the playoffs.

Laine, Malkin for the Rocket…

Rocket Richard Trophy, this one seemed clear as day a couple weeks back, it seemed like it was all Ovechkin for the entirety of this season, but now another Russian player Evegani Malkin wants to be in talks for the Rocket trophy. At points, it was Kucherov and Ovechkin(something about Russians and the back of the net I see), but as Kucherov missed some time and tailed off, Malkin has joined the topic of conversation. Malkin trails Ovechkin by two goals, Ovi(40), Malkin(38). Wait, let’s not forget sophomore Patrik Laine, it seemed like Laine was in his own battle with the sophomore slump but his recent 13-goals in 9 games the Swedish sniper has emerged in the conversation as well now. Laine is tied with Malkin with 38 goals and has shown no signs of slowing down. This is going to be a down to the wire race, like any award, but with the way the Jets and Penguins are playing as a team, I think we may see one of either Laine and Malkin take it. Either or I think deserves it and Laine winning it would just add onto why this 20-year-old goal scorer is going to be around doing this for quite some time.

Klingberg or Carlson for the Norris

imagesNorris trophy, this trophy always gets messed up and given to the wrong person I feel like. But in years past it never really goes to the bets defenseman it just goes to the defenseman with the most points and at the moment that is, John Klingberg with 56 points. In a close second is John Carlson with 53 points, after that it goes, Brent Burns(52), PK Subban(50), Shayne Gostisbehere(50). I am not sure what the ruling is one this award, what the voting process is like and who picks the winner. But I think we have to consider either Carlson or Klingberg, both have taken an expanded role for there team and both have been consistently doing this all season. Carlson first off has a blue line accompanied by Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen, Dimitry Orlov, Michal Kempny and Madison Bowey, a bunch of alright defensemen who do not bring a ton to the table. While Klingberg went from having a down year with 49 points last year and having already exceeded that point total. Klingberg also plays with a list of decent defenseman and has carried this blue line all year. Klingberg averages 23:41 time on ice and 27.6 shifts per game, while Carlson 25:20 time on ice(top 15 ice time) and 27.0 shifts per game. This two eat some major minutes and for chalking all that time, still being able to produce the way they are, with the other defenseman they have is amazing. I would hope to see either of these guys win it, but highly doubt they will.


NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018

NHL Mid-Season Awards

We are currently 40-42 games into the season and the NHL is at its halfway point. We’ve seen some amazing surprises this season, as well as some teams surprise us in the wrong way. Some players continue to dominate while some unforeseen names have emerged their way onto the list of mid-season awards.

Hart Memorial Trophy:

Nikita Kucherov: Kucherov has started where he left off last season, dominating the goal column, leading the Bolts to leagues best and tallying 60 points in 43 games. Kucherov has 27 goals and 33 assists. Between last seasons 74 games plus this seasons 43 games(117 games) he has totaled 145 points and 67 goals. Kucherov is a favorite for the Hart at this moment.

Some honorable mentions, Nathan McKinnon(52 points), John Tavares(52 points), Claude Giroux(52 points).

Norris Trophy: 

John Klingberg: Maybe some may disagree with this and continue to tout Drew Doughty’s horn, but Klingberg is my Norris favorite at this point. The Stars had a terrible season last season and Klingberg surrounded by a blueline filled with young players and Marc Methot, Klingberg has propelled this blue line. In 43 games Klingberg has 39 points, 33 assists, and 6 goals, with a +12 and 14 power play points. Klingberg continues this production and Stars make the playoffs it will be hard to not recognize Klingberg.

Honorable Mentions: Victor Hedman(33 points), John Carlson(34 points), Alex Pietrangelo(30 points).

Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy: 

Alex Ovechkin: For a 33-year-old forward, who has been scoring consistently for the past seven years, for Ovechkin to come out like this season and score 27 goals in 43 games is hard to not say this guy deserves the Rocket plus he has 46 points. He’s also already six goals from his goal total last season. Of the Capitals 132 goals, Ovechkin has 27 of them, that’s pretty impressive. Ovechkin will continue this pace and I think he has to be a favorite for the Rocket.

Honorable Mention: Nikita Kucherov(27 goals), Anders Lee(25 goals), Sean Couturier(23 goals).

Calder Memorial Trophy: 

Brock Boeser: At this point with how much Boeser has contributed to the Canucks offense and what he has accomplished at this point is amazing. Rookie of the month, 40 points in 40 games and since Bo Horvat has been out he has contributed 49.6 percent of the points (goals/assists). Boeser is absolutely unbelievable and one of the most exciting players to watch. With the environment, he is in one of the worst teams among the other rookie nominees Boeser is my Calder favorite.

Honorable Mention: Matt Barzal(39 points), Clayton Keller(32 points), Yanni Gourde(30 points).

Vezina Trophy:

Andrei Vasilevskiy: Now obviously it is not too hard to be the best goalie in the league when the team in front of you plays so dominantly but Vasailevskiy leads the league in goals-against average(2.10), save percentage(.933) and wins(27), no matter what the team as a whole does, those stats you cannot overlook. Vasailevskiy has stood tall in net for the Lightning and has given them the confidence to be this successful. It’s tough to consider anyone else for this award.

Honorable Mention: Tuukka Rask(14 wins, 2.23 GAA), Jonathan Quick(19 wins, 2.31 GAA), Connor Hellebuyck(23 wins, 2.36 GAA).


NHL News

NHL: Re-Addressing the Norris Talk

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.

Norris Favorites

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

Fantasy Hockey

NHL: Norris Trophy Dark Horses for 2017-2018

Ryan Suter: Veteran deserves some credit!

Suter finished fifth in Norris voting a season ago. He finally is getting some of the consideration he deserves. Suter finished third in the league in average time on ice, and even more impressively led the league in plus-minus! I think plus-minus is a great stat, it shows your overall impact on the ice, while you may not get credit for a point, often times you make an important player on that shift that leads to a goal. Minnesota has developed a deep defensive core, and Suter is the leader of it. He is as durable as they come, playing in all 82 games three of the last four seasons. He’s not an overly flashy guy, but he plays the game the right way on a consistent basis, you always know what you’re going to get out of him. Minnesota is looking to take a big step this season, look for Suter to be at the front of it.

Duncan Keith: Does he ever come off the ice?

Now 34-years-old, some will argue that Keith’s best years are behind him. However, I’m expecting Chicago to bounce back after getting embarrassed in the playoffs a year ago, and Keith is going to have to play a big-time role in the team coming back. The three-time Stanley Cup champ is a workhorse, finishing sixth in average time on ice per game. Chicago is going to need these kinds of minutes out of Keith again this season. They will be bringing in a few young defensemen, it’ll be important to lean on Keith in most situations. Dun-Conn (Smythe) Keith has shown he can play in the big moments, best displayed during his playoff MVP performance in 2015. He finished fourth in Norris voting a year ago, he will remain in the conversation this season.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson: Quiet in the desert, not with OEL!

On the topic of dark horses, OEL is a sure undervalued player in the desert of Arizona. Fantasy Hockey Defenseman Ranked 21-30 and projections for 2017-2018He was overall not impressive last season, that following up back to back 20 goal seasons. The Coyotes were a mess last season, and it hurt OEL’s ability to get momentum going. He has a natural scoring ability from the point, and I’m expecting him to reach the 20 goal mark again. The Coyotes made a bunch of offseason moves to improve their team, and they believe that some of their top prospects will be ready to play full-time in the NHL. OEL will benefit this season from having a better team around him, including on the power play where he is known to do a lot of damage. With Shane Doan now gone, OEL will be taking on a larger leadership role this season, and I expect him to thrive off that.

Roman Josi: Josi puts Smashville on the map

The newest captain of the Nashville Predators, Josi is back and looking to get Nashville back to the Stanley Cup final. Josi has great ability to move the puck, but what I think stands out most about him is his skating ability. The guy can fly, and transition from defense to offense with ease. He loves to rush the puck, and it is fun to watch him navigate through opponents in the neutral zone and the attacking zone. Josi finished ninth in the league in average time on ice, and that is saying a lot considering the stacked defensive core that Nashville has. It will be a big challenge for the team without Ryan Ellis for the first few months, I’m expecting Josi to continue to step up and eat those minutes. The world really got to learn about Josi’s ability while we watched Nashville make a run to the Cup finals last season. Everyone should know him now, and I believe he is ready to be in serious Norris contention.

Ryan McDonagh: Lost love in the Big Apple

For years McDonagh has been said to have the ability to be a Norris trophy candidate, the question remained when would he break out into the elite status. He certainly took a step towards it last year, setting a new career high in assists. The Ranger captain plays in all situations for the team and took a larger role on the power play last year with the departure of Keith Yandle. What separates McDonagh from most is his vision and his skating. He can anticipate a play happening seconds before it happens and it is amazing to watch. Skating wise, this guy has such powerful strides and stays strong on his skates even when getting bumped. The Rangers added Kevin Shattenkirk in the offseason, and I believe that this move helps key up the top four defensive core which will give McDonagh more room to just go out there and be himself. A dark horse? For sure. Out of the question? No way.