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Weber and Giroux: A History of Dynamic Duos

Shea Weber isn't a Flyer yet, and he may never be. Nonetheless, the prospect of pairing the superstar defenseman with Claude Giroux got me thinking about great duos in NHL history.

Weber is a two-time Norris finalist. It's not a stretch to say that Giroux deserved to be a Hart finalist this year. While Weber has never won a Norris Award, Eric helpfully pointed out earlier that plenty of recent Norris winners were older than Weber is now when they won their first trophy. And at just 24, it wouldn't be a shock to see Giroux win an MVP trophy some time in the next couple of seasons. Pairing Weber with Giroux would give the Flyers, arguably, one of the top three defensemen and one of the top three forwards in the league.

The list of teams that have featured Norris Trophy and Hart Memorial Trophy winers in the same season actually isn't as short as you might think. Chris Pronger won both awards with the Blues in 2000. The 1991-92 New York Rangers featured Hart winner Mark Messier and Norris winner Brian Leetch.

Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey pulled off the feat in back-to-back seasons with the Oilers in 1984-85 and 1985-86. Brian Trottier and Denis Potvin won both awards with the Islanders in 1978-79, and Guy LaFleur and Larry Robinson did so with the Canadiens in 1976-77.

Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito accomplished the feat twice with the Bruins, in 1968-69 and 1973-74, and Orr won both awards in the same year three times, in 1970, 1971, and 1972.

Bobby Hull and Pierre Pilote took home both trophies for the Blackhawks in 1964-65, Bernie Geoffrion and Doug Harvey did so for the Canadiens in 1960-61, and Jean Beliveau did the same with Harvey in 1955-56.

So in the 58 seasons in which both trophies have been awarded, both have gone to the same team 14 times. The 1985 Oilers, 1977 Canadiens, 1970 and 1972 Bruins, and 1956 Canadiens also won the Stanley Cup.

Leetch and Messier won with the Rangers in 1993, Trottier and Potvin won four straight Cups with the Islanders in the early 80's, and Hull and Pilote won with the Blackhawks in 1961. And, of course, Geoffrion was on several of the same Beliveau/Harvey Cup-winning Canadiens teams in the late 1950s.

To summarize, of all the players listed above, only Chris Pronger failed to win at least one Stanley Cup with the team with which he won his major award. Every other dynamic duo managed to win at least one title with the team with which they won the Norris and/or Hart trophies.

Now, it's no guarantee that Weber will end up a Flyer. Nashville could simply match the offer sheet and we'd be exactly where we were 48 hours ago, except there would be no prospect of signing Weber as a free agent after next season. Even if Weber does come to Philadelphia, a match-and-trade scenario could significantly weaken the Flyers in other areas.

And, of course, this analysis oversimplifies the argument. Two players do not a Cup champion make. Jari Kurri and Mark Messier were pretty important pieces for those Oilers teams. Mike Bossy was kind of a big deal for that Islanders squad, and Mike Richter was a huge part of the Rangers Cup-winning team.

That said, the history on this one is pretty compelling. Maybe you didn't need a long-form historical analysis to tell you that when superstar forwards get paired with superstar defensemen, great things happen. But with the prospect of a Claude Giroux-Shea Weber union staring us in the face, it's an exciting little trend to consider.

This item was written by a member of this community and is not necessarily endorsed by <em>Broad Street Hockey</em>.

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