It was reported on Friday afternoon Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks, Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning are the three finalists for this year’s Norris Trophy, which is given annually to the top all-around defenseman in the league. This season’s winner will be revealed at the 2017 NHL Awards at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 21.
— Sean Leahy (@Sean_Leahy) April 21, 2017
All three blue-liners were terrific this season, but it would be a surprise if Burns doesn’t win the award in the end. He led all defenseman with 29 goals, 76 points, 320 shots and six game-winning goals. He was also second among all blue-liners with 47 assists and 25 power-play points.
His 76 points were actually good enough for the ninth-most in the entire NHL. That made Burns just the second defenseman in the last decade to finish in the top 10 in scoring.
The only other defenseman to do that was Karlsson last season, but he lost the Norris Trophy to Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings. Karlsson did finish with 17 goals and 71 points, but his candidacy may be stronger this season due to the fact his rating improved from minus-two in 2015-2016 to plus-10 this season. Karlsson also led all defensemen in assists and power-play points.
With 16 goals and 72 points, Hedman actually scored more points than Karlsson. Hedman’s previous single-season career-highs were 10 goals and 47 points. He also played a career-high 24:31 per game.
All three defenseman finished in the top 15 in ice time in the league. Karlsson led the way with 26:50 per game, which was fourth-highest mark in the NHL.
If Burns or Hedman take home the honor, it will be their first Norris Trophy win. Karlsson won the award in both 2012 and 2015.