Kicking off our week long awards ceremony is the Norris Trophy. Over the course of the season, he had a staggering combination of offensive skill and defensive awareness that all 30 teams would kill for. He finished second in defensive scoring with 69 points—while playing the 2nd most minutes per game over the course of an 82-game season.
But it wasn’t just his regular season that made him stand apart over the last calendar year. In February, he asserted himself as the best defenseman on the gold-medal winning Team Canada. Come playoff time, he proved that the Olympics performance wasn’t a fluke. Keith was 2nd in defenseman scoring with 17 points in 22 games over the course of the playoffs. But just as important as his offensive output, his two-way game and ability to play in every situation is what makes him so valuable. Starting an important power play? Need to kill off a penalty in a one-goal game? Either way, Duncan Keith was the first guy off the Blackhawks bench on his way to averaging 28:11 of playing time in the playoffs.
Gold Medal. Stanley Cup. Received consideration for the Conn Smythe. Why not throw a Norris in there as well?
Here’s how bloggers around the NHL saw the Norris race this year.
|Name||Total Points||1st Place Votes||Total Votes|
“No truth to the rumor that Keith is going to melt down the Norris and fashion a new grille.”
–Mark Willoughby, The View From 111
“Mike Green is going to win this award one of these days. The guy is a scoring master, and his defense is serviceable. The award is for the best defenseman in the league, and that would be him. Keith is a very close second, and could easily have gone in the top spot. However, if I am building a team, and I need a d-man, I take Mike Green first.”
–Bryan Reynolds, Hockey Wilderness
“If Pronger is good enough to be my Hart winner he has to get the nod for the Norris as well. Boyle was severely underrated this season, even if he was playing on an offensively stacked team. Mike green is lucky the playoffs don’t count in the real world when it comes to awards voting.”
–Ben Wright, The Blueland Blog
“Duncan Keith will likely win the Norris, and I think Doughty is on his way to winning several in his career. But to me, Dan Boyle was a major reason for San Jose’s success this season, especially when Rob Blake got hurt.”
–Jon Moncrief, The Examiner
“Had this only included regular season, I would have held fast to my belief that Mike Green is worthy of the Norris this year. He had a great regular season, and improved defensively while continuing to thrive offensively – the best all-around defenseman.
But there’s that pesky postseason thing, you know? Duncan Keith has now won a Stanley Cup. I’m not even sure Mike Green is aware the playoffs took place.”
–Becca Henschel, Japers Rink
“Lidstrom was mysteriously already filled in. Hmm… And Mike Green only gets on the ballot because of the phrase: ‘And I’m pretty sure he yelled ‘Bulls Eye’!’”
–Ryan Hackett, Hackett’s Blog
“Keith and Doughty will be fighting for this award for years to come and Keith is just a bit better than Doughty… For now, at least. Lidstrom and Pronger represent the old guard here but they’re still at the top of the class when it comes to the position. Mike Green is a forward that plays defense as far as I’m concerned. +/- makes me want to fight babies.”
–Joe Yerdon, Gross Misconduct Hockey
“Duncan Keith played harder minutes (higher QCOMP) and more of them than almost anyone and sparkled. I think he and Doughty will be in the Norris discussion for a long time. Chris Pronger taking Philly to the Cup Finals after a horrible start to the season should emphasize something; Pronger went to the dance with Anaheim and Edmonton. Everywhere he goes he ends up in the Cup Finals. He plays big minutes with a mean streak and plays them well.”
–Chemmy, Pension Plan Puppets
“To figure out Mike Green’s slot, I inputted a bunch of calculations to measure his offensive value against his defensive liability. This caused my computer to blow up, so I figured the #5 slot sounds about right.”
“What doesn’t Keith do? The dude a freakin’ machine of both offense and defense. I think the biggest thing that Duncan Keith is to the Chicago Blackhawks is that he’s a catalyst of all things that it takes to win in the NHL. I really think that being that guy is what lifts him up above the four other voted on defenders on my list.”
–Clayton Corley, Opiated Sherpa
Re: Drew Doughty: “I don’t care if he’s young. He’s pretty awesome.”
–Dmitry Chesnokov, Puck Daddy
We’ll pick up tomorrow with a look at our Mattias Norstrom Award. Duncan Keith was a great all-around blueliner this year, but who was the best defensive-defenseman? All of our contributors gave us their thoughts—we’ll let you know tomorrow.
For a look at the entire schedule of awards as well as outline of the NHL Awards project, you can check out the details here. And as a parting shot, here was our favorite explanation from one of our voters. Who say’s blatant pandering won’t get you anywhere?
“The only way I can imagine a scenario that doesn’t have Drew Doughty
winning this year’s Norris trophy is if the “experts” who’s votes matter
(somehow) chose some Eastern Conference “offensive” defenseman who can’t
skate very well because he’s the only one of the three nominee’s who’s
games after end before 10pm EST.
Somehow these “experts” can vote for NHL Award winners, but probably
weren’t even invited to take part in the VFMS Award voting. A distinction
I’m sure they’d love to have but know they can’t. Yeah….”
–Kevin Burgundy, Stay Classy