The NHL has announced the three finalists for the Norris Trophy and Tampa Bay Lightning blueliner Victor Hedman has been named as one of the three. He’ll join P.K. Subban of the Nashville Predators and Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings in Vegas for the NHL awards show.
This is the second season Hedman has been a Norris finalist for the best defenseman in the NHL. He finished third in the voting last season to winner Brent Burns and second place finisher Erik Karlsson. In last season’s voting, Hedman received three first place votes, and 13 second place votes while taking 106 of the third place votes.
There has been a lot of momentum in main stream media late in this season around Hedman’s candidacy. Hedman finished fifth among defensemen in points, tied for first in goals, and tied for ninth in assists. He was also fifth in the league in TOI with 25:51 per game.
Subban and Doughty though, are both strong candidates. Doughty was 7th in points, tied-23rd in goals, and 6th in assists. He also led the league in TOI with 26:50 per game. Subban finished tied-8th in points, tied-4th in goals, and tied-13th in assists. Playing on a very deep Predators blue line, Subban ended up 21st in TOI with 24:07 per game.
We can also look a little bit to advanced stats (from Corsica.hockey) to get more of an idea of how they stacked up against each other. I trimmed the data set down to the 35 defensemen that logged at least 1400 minutes of 5v5 ice time. To save some words, I will list a stat, and then were each of the three finalists placed in that group.
- Goals - Hedman (1st), Subban (t-7th), Doughty (t-19th)
- Primary Points - Hedman (t-2nd), Subban (t-2nd), Doughty (t-18th)
- Corsi-For Percentage - Doughty (11th), Hedman (12th), Subban (14th)
- Goals-For Percentage - Hedman (1st), Subban (2nd), Doughty (13th)
- Expected Goals-For Percentage - Hedman (9th), Doughty (18th), Subban (22nd)
- Corsi-For Per 60 - Hedman (9th), Subban (17th), Doughty (19th)
- Corsi-Against Per 60 - Doughty (3rd), Subban (8th), Hedman (14th)
As you can see from the advanced statistics, Hedman has the edge in a number of statistical categories. But it’s also not a perfectly clear case either, since many members of the mainstream media that vote on these awards have little regard for advanced statistics.
We’ll have to wait and see for the awards show in June to see if Hedman can take home his, and the Lightning’s, first Norris Trophy.