Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks, Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators are the three finalists for the 2016-17 James Norris Memorial Trophy, which is 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 21, during the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks Burns set franchise records for goals and points by a defenseman for the second consecutive season, posting 29-47–76 to top all NHL blueliners in scoring. He became the first defenseman to record back-to-back 75-point seasons since Brian Leetch achieved the feat with the New York Rangers in 1995-96 and 1996-97. Burns’ 29 goals were 12 more than any other League defenseman and his 21 even-strength tallies were the most by an NHL defender since the Sharks’ Sandis Ozolinsh had 22 in 1993-94. His 320 shots on goal – the most among all skaters – was 33% more than the No. 2- ranked blueliner (Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien, 241). Burns finished third in Norris Trophy balloting last season in his first year as a finalist.
Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning Hedman’s standout season was highlighted by career highs in goals (16), assists (56), points (72), games (79), game-winning goals (five), average time on ice per game (24:30) and blocked shots (132). The first-time Norris Trophy finalist set single-season Lightning records for assists and points by a defenseman and became the franchise’s all-time leader in those categories as well. His assist total led all NHL defensemen and was the most by any Lightning player since forward Martin St. Louis had 68 in 2010-11. Hedman led the NHL in power-play assists (29) and ranked second in power-play points (33) as quarterback of a Lightning power play unit that topped the NHL in goals with the man advantage (62).
Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators Karlsson ranked third among NHL defensemen with 17-54–71, the fourth time he has cleared the 70-point and 50-assist milestones in his eight-season career. The Senators captain became just the second defenseman in League history, and the first since the New York Islanders’ Denis Potvin from 1973-74 to 1976-77, to lead his team in scoring in four consecutive campaigns. He also ranked second in the NHL in blocked shots (201) and fourth in average ice time per game (26:50). A finalist for the third consecutive season and for the fourth time in the past six seasons, Karlsson is vying for his third career Norris Trophy. He won the award in 2012 and 2015 and finished second in voting last season.