Handicapping The 2009-10 Norris Trophy

Mike Green shoots. Mike Green Scores. (Photo by Greg Fiume)

Schultz For Norris? (Illustration by @megHamonster)

Schultz For Norris? Maybe next year, Sarge. (Illustration by @megHamonster)

The Norris Trophy sounds simple to award: “The James Norris Memorial Trophy is an annual award given to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.”

Not surprisingly, it seems the voters (Professional Hockey Writers’ Association) use how many points a defenseman scores in the season as the “offensive component” when looking for their winner. Since the 1997-8 season, only last year’s winner (Zdeno Chara) has been out of the Top 10 in Points for defensemen – and he wasn’t out by much, ranking 12th.

A defenseman’s Plus/Minus factors in to the voting as the “defensive component.” In the same time frame, all but two winners had a Plus/Minus less than 10 – Nicklas Lidstrom in 2000-1 had a +9 and Rob Blake in 1997-8 had a -3 (the only other winner of the Norris with a negative Plus/Minus was Randy Carlyle in 1980-1). And you would have to go back to when the “Secretary of Defense” won the first of his two Norris Trophies to find another winner with a Plus/Minus not in the double digits.

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