Thursday, April 26, 2012
Zdeno Chara Named A Norris Trophy Finalist
He joins Nashville's Shea Weber and Ottawa's Erik Karlsson as nominees for the award which will be handed out June 20 in Las Vegas at the NHL awards ceremony.
Chara's a five-time Norris Trophy finalist (fourth time in five years he's been nominated) and he won it in 2009. Surprisingly of this group, only Chara's team is currently out of the 2012 NHL playoffs. Karlsson and the Senators face the Rangers tonight in Game 7 while Weber's Predators have already advanced to the Western Conference semifinals against the Phoenix Coyotes.
Chara had a career-high 52 points this season (12 goals, 40 assists), fourth-best among all defensemen, and tied for third among all players with a plus-33. Chara, 35, played his 1,000th game in March and was a captain at the 2012 All-Star Game.
Karlsson, 21, broke out this season with 78 points -- 25 more than any other defenseman, and tying him for 10th-most among all players.
He had 59 assists, best among the league's defenders, and tied with Weber with 19 goals.
Weber, 26, had a career-best 49 points, tying him for sixth in the league overall, and scored 10 goals on the league's top power-play unit. His average ice time of 26 minutes, 9 seconds was fifth-most in the league.
Weber was a Norris finalist last season, finishing second in voting to Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom.
I don't really have a feel for how this will shake out. You can make a case for any of the three players although I don't think that Karlsson deserves it as much as Chara and Weber since he's all offense and doesn't play a lick of defense (you know, a defenseman's main job). This award should be about the best all-around defenseman. In that case, Chara and Weber are basically even.