Detroit blueliner Nicklas Lidstrom has had a stranglehold on the award for the “defensive player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-around ability in the position” for the past three seasons and six of the last seven.
This year, it’s time for someone else to take home the Norris.
My pick: Zdeno Chara, Boston
Even with a career-high 19 goals, the Bruins’ captain can’t match Washington’s Mike Green and his league-high 31 goals from the back line. But there are so many other departments that Chara beats Green in the most important aspect of this award — defense. While maintaining a high-level of offensive production, including quarterbacking one of the league’s top power plays, Chara was at his bone-crushing, intimidating best in his own zone. Hardly an NHL sniper had their way against the Bruins in any of the 80 contests Chara played in. The Bruins led the league with the fewest goals allowed, and anyone with eyes can tell you it wasn’t just because of great goaltending and a solid system. Chara was the best defenseman in the NHL this year.
The PHWA requires five picks, so the rest of mine were: 2. Green; 3. Lidstrom; 4. Dan Boyle, San Jose; 5. Shea Weber, Nashville.