It’s the halfway point in the season and we’re creating a hypothetical mid-season Norris Trophy here at DailyFaceoff.com. We’ve created the shortlist of nominees who could all be judged as the greatest all-around defenseman. Normally, the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association chooses who wins but we’d like you to choose! The poll can be found at the end. We’re going to run through mid-season versions of all of the prominent NHL trophies and awards so stay tuned!
Mike Green (10 Goals, 31 Assists, +17)
The NHL’s leading scorer among defenceman was left off the Canadian Olympic Team despite having more points than Evgeni Malkin. His defensive play is often criticized but he is 4th among defenders in the plus minus category at +17. Criticism aside, he is the highest scoring defenseman in the league on the highest scoring team in the league, and the Caps are running away with the Southeast division.
Duncan Keith (8 Goals, 32 Assists, +17)
One of a myriad of skilled Blackhawks defenders, Keith excels in all aspects of the game, and chews up over 26 minutes of ice time a game. He is strong in his own zone, can run the powerplay, and scores goal. Not much else to say about this kid, except that he makes a fine addition to Canada’s Olympic Team.
Dan Boyle (8 Goals, 25 Assists, +5)
Boyle has cooled off recently, but is still a big part of why the Sharks are where they are this year. After losing Christian Ehrhoff in a trade before the season started, Boyle was expected to shoulder an even bigger load on the Sharks blue line, and has not disappointed. He is near the top of most major statistical categories, but like the rest of the Sharks, it is time to come through in the playoffs.
Drew Doughty (9 Goals, 23 Assists, +7)
Doughty has already scored more points than he had all of last season, and his +/- has improved by +10. To call this a breakout season is an understatement. He forced his way onto the Canadian Olympic Team as a 20 year old, pushing out holdovers Jay Bouwmeester and Robyn Regehr. It may be tough for him to keep up these numbers, but he has been a true leader on the Kings’ blue line and his 19 powerplay points have helped quarterback the Kings’ powerplay to one of the best in the league.
Chris Pronger (6 Goals, 24 Assists, +16)
The only people in the NHL that like this guy are the fans of the team he is currently playing for. He is nasty on the ice as evidenced by his many suspensions, and is a thorn in the side of opposing offensive players. His game is starting to slip with age, but he is still among the premiere defenders in the game, contributing in other ways than the scoresheet with 27 takeaways and 103 blocked shots, both of which place him in the top 10 – the 30 points and +16 rating don’t hurt either, not to mention being a part of the second best powerplay in the league.