NEW YORK NY - FEBRUARY 20: Ryan McDonagh #27 of the New York Rangers skates against Andrej Meszaros #41 of the Philadelpia Flyers at Madison Square Garden on February 20 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
This week, SB Nation will unveil its winners for seven different NHL awards. Bloggers from across our hockey network have voted on the awards, and today we continue with the Norris Trophy, handed out each year to the NHL's top defenseman. Andreas Lilja was snubbed, so please contain your disappointment.
Over at SBNation.com today, you can find the our network selection for the 2012 James Norris Memorial Trophy. Chris Pronger's a perennial candidate for this award, but that's obviously not the case this year. [sad face]
While some undeserving candidates may have picked up votes in SB Nation's voting (seriously, go over there and see some of those guys who got votes), the ultimate winner of the award is quite deserving. Shea Weber won the award in our voting, with Zdeno Chara ranking second and Erik Karlsson ranking third. Below the jump, we'll unveil our ballots.
Travis Hughes, Managing Editor
3rd: Erik Karlsson. I really struggled with picking Karlsson or Shea Weber here, and I won't lie, it's probably as simple as "I've seen a lot of Karlsson this season and I don't watch a lot of Predators games." But I sort of look at all of these awards in the context of what the player means to the team, and that's not to say Weber means little to the Preds, but Karlsson literally is the Ottawa Senators in a lot of ways.
He has the reputation as an offensive defenseman and it's obviously warranted, but he's not exactly Mike Green either. The dude has amazing speed and uses it well to choke off attacking forwards. He's a solid defenseman in his own right -- even if his game isn't perfect in that regard -- and when you add that to his point scoring ability and his role on the Sens, he's a worthy candidate for Norris.
2nd: Ryan McDonagh. Without McDonagh, I'm not really sure where the Rangers are this season. In the absence of former top pairing defenseman Marc Staal, who missed much of the beginning of the regular season with a concussion, McDonagh came essentially out of nowhere to full in on the top pairing with Dan Girardi.
He did so admirably -- so admirably, in fact, that by the time Staal was ready to come back at the Winter Classic, they kept McDonagh on the top pairing, facing top competition every night. The Rangers traded Scott Gomez for this guy, by the way.
1st: Zdeno Chara. I mean, guys. He's Zdeno Chara. Do I really need to explain myself?
Geoff Detweiler, Associate Editor
3rd: Zdeno Chara. More advanced stats to prove just how good people you already recognize as great are: Chara was 35th in relative competition,
2nd: Shea Weber. Weber beats out Chara here for being put in even more difficult situations. He ranks 12th in relative competition among all NHL defensemen with 40 games played this year,
1st: Ryan McDonagh.
Ben Rothenberg, Associate Editor
3rd: Shea Weber. Behind every great Pekka there's a better Shea. Or at least that's what I'm told.
2nd: Jay Bouwmeester. J-Bouw to me embodies the new generation of hipster defensemen better than anybody. In the future, all defensemen will be quiet, glasses-wearing Clark Kent-types. Sad to see none of my fellow "experts" joined me on the Bouwwagon.
1st: Zdeno Chara. I think the Norris trophy should be like the Kennedy Center Honors: a lifetime achievement award given to someone who seems likely to die of old age any minute now...