In our 2nd day of the VFMS NHL Awards, we introduce a new concept. For this newly created award, we asked the writers to vote on the best defensive defenseman. The stay-at-home defensemen are always overlooked during the awards season. They don’t usually have the numbers to compete for the Norris and while they’re valuable to their team, they’re not noticeable to outsiders to ever be considered for awards like the Hart.
Since we’re not tied to any organizations, we can ask any questions we want. In this case, we asked people from all over to tell us who they thought were the best shutdown defenders. This was an award for the good defensemen around the league who don’t get the love they deserve, but whose value is known by people in their own towns. The purpose was simply to give some respect to guys who don’t usually get it (think offensive linemen or relief pitchers). You might take them for granted, but if your team doesn’t have one, they won’t make it very far in the playoffs.
With the “Mattias Norstrom Memorial Trophy,” we start to get into one of the main purposes of the VFMS blogger awards. We wanted to see how people from all over North America would attack an award that is difficult to judge by stats alone. You can use Corsi, Fenwick, +/- or even turnover stats—but in the end, most people will vote for these types of players by what they saw when they were watching games. Without the preconceived notions that Player X should win, we could get the voters to think a little more freely.
Without further adieu, here’s how bloggers around the NHL voted for this newly created Norstrom Award…
|Name||Total Points||1st Place Votes||Total Votes|
“Ok, I admit, I gave Salo a pity vote. You can’t lose a part of your reproductive system in the middle of a game and NOT get one. The rest are gimmies, except maybe Mike Weaver – the little guy was a brick wall and had an outstanding defensive sensibility this year for the Blues. Also, his beard bumped him up a few notches in my book.”
–Laura Astorian, Thrashing The Blues
“Love the idea behind this, but the award should be called the ‘Scott Stevens Award’ instead. Can’t wait to see Volchenkov wearing Kings’ gear next season!”
–Jon Moncrief, The Examiner
“For this category, I looked at blocked shots, hits and takeaways….all skills that I think make up a good, defensive defenseman. I also think these guys all have cool names. ..which would have put Greg Zanon at #5 over Sutton, but I’m an expert.”
–Carlos Figueiredo, Speaking of the Devils
“Walker only had five points all season, so he must’ve been good on D, right? What’s that? Oh, -11, well, give it to Schultz then.”
“A good idea, but yawn–who wants to see someone ‘stay at home’?”
–Brian Kennedy, Growing Up Hockey
“All physical, all playing with one goal: Team. That’s what the Norstrom is about, though I’d prefer it called the Adam Foote award in the future.”
–Aaron, Hockey Buzz
“Do you understand how hard it is to make Brian Campbell look good on the defensive end?”
–Andrew Bernier, Blackhawks DL
“Seabrook to me is a guy that could be up for the Norris, however he is not the flashiest, but he gets the job done and is a big reason why Keith is playing so well.
Gotta give props to my Habs boys Gill and Gorges for a stellar season and playoff. Very unheralded D pairing.”
–Chris Nadeau, The Hockey Zen
“You know somebody is going to put Jeff Shultz on the list because of his plus-50 rating. I didn’t want to be that guy.”
It’s nice breaking down the defensemen, but forwards can help keep the puck out of the net, as well. On that note, we’ll pick up tomorrow with a look at the Selke Trophy for the league’s best defensive forward.
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.