It’s no surprise that today the NHL announced the three finalists for the Norris Trophy, as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, and last year’s winner Zdeno Chara of the Bruins was not among them.
The finalists are Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty, Chicago’s Duncan Keith and Washington’s Mike Green. Conspicuous by his absence in addition to Chara is Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom, who won six times in seven years prior to Chara’s victory.
Chara rebounded after a poor first half to round into his dominating form and finished with a respectable 44 points (7 goals) in 80 games, but those totals were a far cry from his 50 points and career-high 19 goals.
Keith, to me, is the favorite and he received my first-place vote because of his down right dominance as a guy that matches up against the best scorers in the league and still puts up outstanding offensive numbers. Doughty earned my second-place vote for similar reasons.
I voted Green third despite some reservations about his defensive game. He puts up gaudy offensive totals but never faces top lines. And watching him in the playoffs has actually made me wish I could retract my vote. My fourth- and fifth-place votes for Lidstrom and Chris Pronger of Philadelphia should’ve been a third and fourth. I won’t get fooled again next year.