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NHL announces James Norris and Frank J. Selke Trophy finalists

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Only two players test positive for COVID-19 in Phase 3

NHL: Nashville Predators at Florida Panthers Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The National Hockey League announced finalists for both the James Norris Memorial Trophy - awarded “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position” - and the Frank J. Selke Trophy - awarded “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game” - yesterday.

Here are the three finalists for the Norris Trophy, in alphabetical order:

John Carlson, Washington Capitals

Carlson helped the Capitals to a first-place finish in the Metropolitan Division for a fifth consecutive season by leading all NHL defensemen in scoring by a 10-point margin, tallying a team- and career-high 15-60—75 in 69 games. He became the NHL’s fifth blueliner in the last 30 years to reach the 50-assist mark in 54 games or fewer and first since Sergei Zubov (NYR) in 1993-94. Despite a shortened regular season his 60 assists were the most by a Capitals defenseman since Scott Stevens recorded a franchise-record 61 in 1988-89 and his 75 points were just six fewer than Larry Murphy’s record of 23-58—81 set in 1986-87. The 30-year-old native of Natick, MA, is a Norris finalist for the first time and looks to become the first Capitals player to win the trophy since Rod Langway had back-to-back triumphs in 1982-83 and 1983-84.

Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning

Hedman ranked third among defensemen in scoring with 11-44—55 in 66 games, marking his fourth consecutive season with 40+ assists and 50+ points. During the Lightning’s scorching 23-2-1 run from Dec. 23 through Feb. 17, Hedman posted an even-or-plus rating in 22 of the 26 games (+29 in all) and played an average of 25:43 per contest. Highlights in that span included four assists on Dec. 28 vs. MTL (5-4 W), tying a franchise record for defensemen, and logging a career-high 32:12 on Feb. 15 vs. PHI (5-3 W). The 29-year-old Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, native is the first Norris Trophy finalist in four consecutive seasons since countryman Nicklas Lidstrom with the Detroit Red Wings was selected from 2005-06 through 2008-09. Hedman became the first Lightning player to capture Norris honors in 2017-18 and finished third in 2016-17 and 2018-19.

Roman Josi, Nashville Predators

Josi led the Predators in scoring with 16-49—65 in 69 games, joining Carlson as the only defenseman to top his club in points this season. Josi’s 65 points set a franchise record for defensemen, surpassing the 61 he had recorded in 2015-16, and his 16 goals marked a career high. The Nashville captain’s 12-game point streak (7-13—20) from Dec. 16-Jan. 9 set another franchise record for defensemen and was the longest by any blueliner since Philadelphia’s Shayne Gostisbehere (15 games) in 2015-16. Josi ranked among the top three League defenders in several categories, including shots (1st, 260), points (2nd, 65), goals (t-2nd, 16), assists (2nd, 49) and average time on ice (3rd, 25:47). The 30-year-old Bern, Switzerland, native is a first-time Norris Trophy finalist and is vying to become the first winner in Predators history.

Poll

Who will win the Norris?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    John Carlson
    (19 votes)
  • 26%
    Victor Hedman
    (11 votes)
  • 28%
    Roman Josi
    (12 votes)
42 votes total Vote Now

Following are the finalists for the Selke Trophy, in alphabetical order:

Patrice Bergeron, C, Boston Bruins

Bergeron (31-25—56 in 61 GP) helped the Bruins allow a League-low 174 goals en route to finishing atop the overall NHL standings for the 14th time in franchise history (and first time since 2013-14). He led Boston forwards in shifts per game (22.9), playing an average of 18:44 – including 1:43 on the penalty kill – while finishing 15th in the NHL in plus/minus (+23). Bergeron also ranked among the top 10 in the League in face-off wins (5th; 759) and face-off winning percentage (6th; 57.9%), the 11th consecutive season he has eclipsed the 56-percent plateau. The 34-year-old Ancienne-Lorette, QC, native is a Selke Trophy finalist for a record ninth straight season, extending his own mark in that category. Bergeron’s four Selke wins (2011-12, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2016-17) are tied for the most in NHL history with Bob Gainey, who captured the trophy each of the first four years it was awarded (1978-81 w/ MTL).

Sean Couturier, C, Philadelphia Flyers

Couturier (22-37—59 in 69 GP) paced the NHL by winning 59.6 percent of his face-offs (542-for-909). Only one player in Flyers history has recorded a higher single-season total (since the statistic began being tracked in 1997-98, minimum: 500 FO): Eric Lindros in both 1997-98 (60.1%) and 1998-99 (60.0%). Couturier was consistent throughout the ice, winning 59.5 percent of his face-offs in the defensive zone, 60.4 percent in the neutral zone and 59.1 percent in the offensive zone – no other NHL player topped 58 percent in all three zones. Couturier also led all Philadelphia skaters with a +21 rating while pacing team forwards in both total time on ice (1,368:23) and shorthanded time on ice (140:29). The 27-year-old – who finished second in Selke Trophy voting in 2017-18 – is vying to become the third player to win the award with the Flyers, following Bobby Clarke (1982-83) and Dave Poulin (1986-87).

Ryan O’Reilly, C, St. Louis Blues

O’Reilly (12-49—61 in 71 GP) – the reigning Selke Trophy winner – led the NHL in face-off victories (880) for the third consecutive season, making him the third player to achieve that feat since the statistic was introduced in 1997-98 (joining Bergeron: 4x from 2014-17 and Rod Brind’Amour: 3x from 2004-07). O’Reilly also topped the League in percentage of team face-offs taken (38.7%) while ranking 10th in face-off winning percentage (56.6%), the fifth straight season he has cleared the 55-percent mark. O’Reilly, who last week was named a Lady Byng Memorial Trophy finalist, finished seventh in the League with 69 takeaways while only taking five minor penalties in 1,460:45 of total playing time, 10th among NHL forwards. The 29-year-old Clinton, Ont., native is seeking to become the first repeat Selke Trophy winner since Bergeron took home the award in both 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Poll

Who will win the Selke?

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    Patrice Bergeron
    (16 votes)
  • 19%
    Sean Couturier
    (6 votes)
  • 29%
    Ryan O’Reilly
    (9 votes)
31 votes total Vote Now

Only two players test positive in Phase 3

According to the NHL, just two players tested positive for COVID-19 during the first week of Phase 3 training camps. Those unidentified players are currently self-isolating. The NHL administered 2,168 tests to over 800 players during the first five days of training camp. That’s a very encouraging sign as we draw closer to the start of the postseason.

Round robin games swapped

  • The Boston Bruins-Washington Capitals game, originally scheduled for Saturday, August 8, now will be played Sunday, Aug. 9.
  • The Philadelphia Flyers-Tampa Bay Lightning game, originally scheduled for Sunday, August 9, now will be played Saturday, Aug. 8.