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A Closer Look at the James Norris Memorial Trophy Finalists

John Carlson, Victor Hedman and Roman Josi are named finalists for the James Norris Memorial Trophy. The NHL has also announced finalists for the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award, Vezina Trophy, Lady Byng Award, Ted Lindsay Award, Calder Trophy and Jack Adams Award. The award is given to the best NHL defenseman of the season and voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. The Norris Trophy winner will be announced during the conference finals.

Here is a closer look at the Norris Trophy finalists.

John Carlson, Washington Capitals

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson is a finalist for the Norris Trophy.
Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson is named the favorite to win the Norris Trophy this season. Image courtesy: Patrick McDermott

Carlson is named the favorite to win the Norris Trophy this season. Carlson led all defenseman in assists (60) and points (75) which are both his career highs. He also tied his career high in goals with 15 in 69 games. The defenseman averaged 1.09 points per game this season. Carlson would be the fourth NHL defenseman to average more than one point per game in a season. The other three defenseman are Ray Bourque (1.26), Sergei Zubov (1.14) and Al MacInnis (1.09). Carlson also came in first among all defenseman in game-winning goals (six) and second in power-play points (26). His average ice time per game this season was 24:38. The Capitals veteran also blocked 108 shots giving him a plus-12 rating for the season.

“It’s an honor for me personally but it’s also a cool thing everyone within your team and organization that rallied behind you,” Carlson said.

The Washington Capitals are one of four round-robin teams in the Eastern Conference and will play as the No. 3 seed. They’re going to play against the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers to determine seeding for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman is a three-time finalist and a one time recipient for the Norris Trophy. Image courtesy: Kim Klement

Hedman is named a Norris Trophy finalist for the third straight year and won the award in 2017-18. He finished third behind Carlson and Josi in points (55) with 11 goals and 44 assists in 66 games this season. The Norris finalist also has an average ice time per game was 24:04 and blocked 98 shots along with 47 takeaways. If there’s a defenseman that poses a threat to Carlson potentially winning the award, it’s Hedman. To be named a finalist three years straight certainly speaks to how elite Hedman has been in his 11 year NHL career.

“It’s always a big honor to get nominated for an individual prize and definitely nothing you take for granted,” Hedman said.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are also one of the four round-robin teams in the Eastern Conference and will play as the No. 2 seed. They will also compete against the Bruins, Capitals and Flyers to determine seeding for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Roman Josi, Nashville Predators

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi
Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi is named a finalist for the Norris Trophy for the first time in his NHL career. Image courtesy: John Russell

Josi is a first-time finalist for the Norris Trophy. The longtime Predator would also be the first player in team history to win the Norris Trophy. Josi recorded career highs in goals (16), assists (49) and points (65) with all these numbers coming in second behind Carlson. He also came in third in average ice time per game averaging 25:47. The defenseman recorded 23 power-play points, blocked 108 shots and got a plus-22 rating in 69 games this season.

“It’s definitely special,” Josi said. “I’m definitely honored to be nominated. I think if you look at all the guys who won it or have been nominated, it’s a lot of guys you look up to. Even those two guys, John and Victor, you love watching those guys play. It’s definitely a huge honor to be nominated with those guys.”

The No. 6 seed Predators will play against the No. 9 seed Arizona Coyotes in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers in a best-of-five series to determine who moves on to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. However, the loser of the series would get a chance of getting the No. 1 pick in this years NHL Draft.

Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano won the award last year.

The 2020 NHL Awards was scheduled to happen on June 25 in Las Vegas. It was postponed on March 25 due to the ongoing pandemic.

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