The NHL announced the 2008-2009′s Norris trophy candidates for top defenseman honors earlier today. On first glace, the nominations of Zdeno Chara (Boston Bruins), Mike Green (Washington Capitals) and Nick Lidstrom (Detroit Red Wings) look right, but after further thought, I’m thinking Lidstrom is the odd man on the list.
With all due respect to the 6 time Norris winner and possibly the greatest defenseman ever, I simply don’t believe Lidstrom was among the top 3 defensemen in the NHL this season. I believe this was one of the weaker season’s Lidstrom has had in years – maybe ever.
So the question really is: if not Nick Lidstrom, who’s my other candidate? Answer: Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators.
Often when trophy’s are voted on, it comes down to who had the greatest impact to their respective teams. While I don’t think Weber would or should win the Norris this season, I’d argue his impact to the Predators was a big reason they nearly snuck into the playoffs. I believe his impact to the Preds as far more significant than Lidstrom’s to Detroit’s. Not because Detroit have a great defense-core, but simply because of Weber’s timely goals, tremendous defensive presence and because I think he may hit harder than Dion Phaneuf. I’m not aware of any Weber sloppy seconds, either.
Shea Weber had a career year this season, posting 53 points in 81 games with the Nashville Predators. His 21 goals this year set a team record and was 2nd in the league behind Mike Green. Weber’s 21 goals is the 4th highest total by a defenseman in the past 9 years. Not bad, considering Nashville averaged 2.52 goals/game while Detroit averaged 3.52 per game.
I agree with Chara and Green’s nominations, but feel Weber might of been overlooked for Lidstrom who may of received benefit of doubt after stellar seasons, year after year. The good news for Predators fans is Weber is under contract for 2 more seasons at a pretty reasonable $4.5 Million/season (reasonable as far as comparable NHL contracts go).
I believe Weber to be a serious contendor for a spot on the Canadian Olympic team in Vancouver next year, too.
So that’s my rant… NHL – take notice. I’d be happy to serve as a member of the voting media. Since I’m not, I’ll place my vote/prediction here… the 2008-2009 Norris trophy winner will be Zdeno Chara. On behalf of all Ottawa Senators fans: thanks John Muckler.
Stay classy, Shea Weber.