Who Will Win the James Norris Memorial Trophy?

The James Norris Memorial Trophy is awarded to the defenseman who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position. The trophy is named after former Detroit Red Wings President James Norris. Bobby Orr has won the trophy the most times with eight wins. Last season’s winner was Drew Doughty of the LA Kings. This season, Brent Burns, Victor Hedman, and Erik Karlsson have been nominated for the James Norris Memorial Trophy.  Here is a preview into each player’s season and why they were nominated:

Brent Burns: San Jose Sharks

Brent Burns, a 32-year-old defenseman, had another great season on the San Jose blue line, scoring 29 goals and 47 assists for 76 points. His 29 goals and 76 points led all defensemen in the NHL. For the third straight season, Burns played all 82 games and he was ranked 7th in the NHL in time on ice with 2,038 minutes and averaged 24 minutes, 52 seconds per game. He recorded 142 blocked shots this season, 36th among all defensemen. Burns and the Sharks were eliminated during in the first round of the playoffs by the Edmonton Oilers. This is Burns second nomination having been nominated last year.

Victor Hedman: Tampa Bay Lightning

Victor Hedman had himself a great season despite the Lightning not making the playoffs. In his 8th season, Hedman recorded a career-high 16 goals, 56 assists, and scoring 72 points. His 72 points ranked second best behind Brent Burns. Hedman was ranked 12th in time on ice with 1,936 minutes and 15th in average time on ice per game with 24 minutes, 30 seconds. He also set the record for most points by a defenseman in one season in Lightning franchise, previously held by Roman Hamrlik. He finished 49th in block shots with 132. This is Hedman’s first nomination for the Norris Trophy.

Erik Karlsson: Ottawa Senators

Erik Karlsson is a two-time Norris Trophy winner having won in 2012 and 2015.He finished fifth in time on ice with 2,066 minutes played and 4th in average time on ice per game with 26 minutes, 50 seconds. Karlsson finished the season scoring 17 goals and 54 assists for 71 points in 77 games. He blocked 201 shots which placed him second in the NHL for blocked shots. Karlsson captained the Senators to the Eastern Conference Finals where they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins. This will be Karlsson fourth time being nominated for the Norris Trophy.

Most likely Erik Karlsson will be going home with his third James Norris Trophy this year. Karlsson is known as an offensive defenseman but under new Head Coach Guy Boucher, Karlsson showed his strong defensive game. In 2016, he had 175 blocked shots and logged 2,375 total minutes in 82 games. This season in 77 games he had 26 more blocked shots with less ice time. Without question, if Karlsson had played a full 82 game season, he would have logged the most time on ice of all defensemen. Besides having a great regular season, Karlsson led the Senators into their deepest playoff run since 2007. Many critics assumed Ottawa would be eliminated in the first round but they manage to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. Karlsson scored only two goals in the playoffs but they were both game winning goals. He is only 26 years old and with the chance to win his third Norris Trophy, he proves that he is one of NHL’s elite defensemen with a bright future ahead of him.

Featured Image via NHL

Junior at Hofstra University majoring in Broadcast Journalism, minoring in Public Affairs and Radio/Television/Film. Research, write and report sporting news on air for WRHU Radio. Edit highlights and engineer Hofstra sports and New York Islander broadcasts. My favorite sports include hockey, football, baseball, soccer and golf. I currently play hockey and golf for fun.

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