While the regular season is becoming a faint memory due to the craziness of the playoffs, the annual awards nominations are gradually trickling out from the regular season.
Three finalists for James Norris Memorial Trophy will be announced tonight on NBCSN/Sportsnet/TVA pregame programming (6:30-7 ET) #NHLAwards
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 27, 2015
Two Calgary Flames defenders have factored into Norris discussions: Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie.
Despite missing the final 21 games of the regular season with a bicep tear, Giordano put up 48 points and finished the season 13th among defenders in league scoring. All this despite playing some of the toughest minutes in the league all season long.
His compatriot, Brodie, didn’t put up nearly the offensive numbers as Giordano but was a crucial component of Calgary’s success on both sides of Giordano’s injury. Brodie had “just” 41 points over 81 games (24th in the NHL), but he really adjusted his game a lot late in the season; he switched from Giordano’s right side to Deryk Engelland’s left side and an offense-generating role to a more shut-down spot.
After two solid seasons, I fully expect Giordano to get a lot of Norris consideration (and for Brodie to get a few votes here and there). I don’t expect a nomination for either man, though. But when the voting is fully revealed in late June, expect Giordano to be really high in the voting, and for his absence to have created arguably the tightest, most contentious Norris race in decades.
Via War-On-Ice, a quick chart with a few selected Norris contenders for your consideration:
Giordano gets the toughest competition of this group, some of the worst zone-starts, yet had some of the best possession results relative to the rest of his club. And Brodie’s not that far off, despite having slightly easier competition and slightly worse zone starts than Giordano.