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.
Who will win the Norris?
This poll is closed
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.
Who will win the Selke?
This poll is closed
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.