The NHL Awards are extremely controversial. In nearly every award, depending on which market you live in, there is almost always a player left out as a finalist. Nashville Predators rookie forward Filip Forsberg was somehow snubbed of being a Calder Trophy finalist. Instead of finishing in the top three in voting, Forsberg shockingly finished fifth.
Surely, the Predators were not going to get shafted again.
On Monday, the League announced the three Norris Trophy finalists to be Los Angeles Kings’ Drew Doughty, Ottawa Senators’ Erik Karlsson and Montreal Canadiens’ P.K. Subban, passing on dark horse defenseman Roman Josi.
The Norris Trophy is awarded “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.” However, the trophy is now being awarded to the best offensive defenseman.
Karlsson, Doughty and Subban for the Norris. Reflects what a top defenceman is now.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) April 27, 2015
Karlsson is a finalist based solely on his offensive performance. Among all defensemen, Karlsson had the most points (66), second-most in goals (21) and the most power play points (30).
Though impressive, despite being third in average time on ice per game (27:15), he logged just 0:33 of short-handed time on ice per game, which is abysmal compared to Josi’s 2:26. Karlsson had just 89 blocked shots, which is not even half of what Josi accumulated (209) that ranked the Predator second among all NHL-ers.
Naming Doughty a finalist is mind-boggling. Not only did the Kings not make the playoffs, but his offensive statistics are not that impressive. Doughty finished tied for 14th in scoring with 46 points (7 g, 39 a) in 82 games. The only thing he has going for him is his second-most average time on ice per game (28:59).
Did the PHWA add a bunch of West Coast-based writers this season? That’s the only thing that explains the Drew Doughty Norris nomination. — The Royal Half (@theroyalhalf) April 27, 2015
Subban, on the other hand, deserves the nomination because he was instrumental in Montreal’s best season since 1988-89. The Canadiens won the Atlantic Division with a 50-22-10 record. Subban had a career year in goals (15), assists (45), points (60), rating (+21), game-winning goals (5) and average time on ice (26:12).
Josi: The Complete Player
There is not a better defensive pairing in the NHL than Nashville’s Josi and Shea Weber duo. The rise of Josi has made losing Ryan Suter to the Minnesota Wild pain-free.
Without question, the 24-year-old surprisingly had a better year than his counterpart Weber, though Weber played a hand in Josi’s superb season. In 81 games, the Bern, Switzerland native hit a new career high in points (15 g, 40 a — 55) placing him tied for fifth among defensemen and amassed the fourth-most time on ice per game (26:28).
Josi’s statistics are overshadowed, unfortunately, by flashy offensive-defensemen in bigger markets. Maybe, someday, the Predators will get the recognition the franchise deserves.
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Colin Fitts is a Nashville Predators staff writer and is a credentialed media member of the Chicago Wolves. From Nashville, Tennessee, Colin majors in journalism and public relations at Columbia College Chicago. Follow him on Twitter, @FittsTHW. Email: 22fitts [at] gmail [dot] com.