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Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Trophy Tracker: Norris Trophy

By Pierre LeBrun

The Norris Trophy race clearly appears to be a two-man affair and, quite honestly, either player at this point is fully deserving. Let’s take a look at our Norris candidates:

Weber

1a. Shea Weber, Nashville Predators

Ever wonder what this guy would fetch July 1 if he was unrestricted as opposed to a restricted free agent? Let’s put it this way: I’m guessing at least a third of the general managers in the NHL would pick him first overall if the league redrew the rosters. Among the league leaders in points (36), plus-minus (plus-20) and ice time (26:15), Weber just does it all. Runner-up last season to the legendary Nicklas Lidstrom for the Norris, this finally could be Weber’s first win -- unless of course the next guy on this list wins it. They’re neck and neck in my opinion.

chara

1b. Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

The parallels with the younger Weber are all too true. Physical impact, offensive force, shutdown terror and a great leader. They apply to both players; the only difference is that the veteran Chara has done it longer in this league. The 2009 Norris Trophy winner has a great shot at another one.

Lidstrom

3. Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings

The seven-time Norris Trophy winner still has it. Can you believe he has a plus-25 rating through 53 games? Oh, and he’s 41. Nick, it’s the Hockey Hall of Fame calling, they want to know if they can name a wing after you.



Edler

4. Alexander Edler, Vancouver Canucks

As of Wednesday morning, Edler is second in the league in points by a defenseman, with 37 (7-30). I chuckled when a player turned to me during All-Star Weekend in Ottawa and remarked he had no idea how good this Edler dude was until seeing him in person. Um, yeah.

Girardi

5. Dan Girardi, New York Rangers

Leads all NHLers in ice time per game and helps spearhead the stingiest defense in the Eastern Conference. He’s much deserving of Norris consideration.



Honorable mention:
Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins (if he hadn't missed 21 games with a concussion, he’d be right there with Weber and Chara, making this a three-horse race); Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators (Leads all blueliners in scoring but defensive game still needs work.);Ryan Suter, Nashville Predators; Dan Boyle, San Jose Sharks; Dion Phaneuf, Toronto Maple Leafs; Brian Campbell, Florida Panthers; Kimmo Timonen, Philadelphia Flyers; Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues; Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks