Norris Trophy finalists

April, 26, 2012
4/26/12
11:18
AM CT
Boston's Zdeno Chara, Ottawa's Erik Karlsson and Nashville's Shea Weber are the finalists for the Norris Trophy, which goes to the NHL's top defenseman.

Here's the release from the NHL:

Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins, Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators are the three finalists for the 2011-12 James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position,” the National Hockey League announced today.

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Norris Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 20, during the 2012 NHL Awards from Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. The 2012 NHL Awards will be broadcast by NBC Sports Network in the United States and CBC in Canada.

Following are the finalists for the Norris Trophy, in alphabetical order:

Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

Chara's strong two-way play helped the Bruins capture their third Northeast Division title in the past four seasons. The Boston captain led all defensemen and tied for third in the NHL in plus-minus (+33) -- matching his League-leading rating from 2010-11 -- and recorded a career-high 52 points (12 goals, 40 assists) to rank fourth among all defenders in scoring. In addition, he led the Bruins in power-play goals (eight) and average ice time per game (25:00). Chara is a Norris Trophy finalist for the fourth time in the past five seasons and for the fifth time overall; he captured the award in 2009, finished second in 2004 and was third in 2008 and 2011.

Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

Karlsson enjoyed a breakout season, leading all NHL defensemen in scoring with 78 points (19 goals, 59 assists) in 81 games. He recorded 25 points more than any other League defenseman -- the widest winning margin since Pittsburgh's Paul Coffey lapped the field by 38 points in 1988-89 -- and set Ottawa franchise records for blueline assists and points. The 21-year-old also is the youngest defenseman to tally as many as 78 points in a season since Coffey's 96 with Edmonton in 1982-83. Karlsson topped NHL defensemen in shots (261), was ninth in the League in average ice time per game (25:19) and posted a +16 rating.

Shea Weber, Nashville Predators

Weber ranked near the top of several categories, helping the Predators earn their seventh Stanley Cup Playoff berth in the past eight seasons. The Nashville captain placed sixth in scoring among all defensemen with 49 points (19 goals, 30 assists), with his 19 goals tied with fellow Norris finalist Erik Karlsson for first place. He ranked fifth in the NHL in average ice time per game (26:09), tied a career high and led all defensemen with 10 power-play goals and posted a team-leading and career-best +21 rating. Weber is a Norris Trophy finalist for the second consecutive season; he finished second to Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom in 2010-11.

Mark Stepneski

ESPNDallas.com
Mark Stepneski joined ESPNDallas.com in July 2010. A former news/special projects producer for KXAS-TV, he has run the Andrew's Dallas Stars Page website since 1997.

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