Chara Weber

Chara, Karlsson and Weber are your Norris Trophy finalists

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A former winner, a former finalist and a first-time nominee comprise this year’s Norris Trophy candidate list.

Today, the NHL announced that Boston’s Zdeno Chara, Nashville’s Shea Weber and Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson have been nominated for the James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the defensive player who demonstrates “the greatest all-round ability in the position.”

Onto the finalists…

Chara

The 35-year-old Slovak won his first and only Norris back in 2009, becoming just the third blueliner not named Nicklas Lidstrom to win the award since 2001 (the others were Scott Niedermayer and Duncan Keith.)

Chara put together another stellar campaign this year, finishing fourth among all defensemen in scoring (12G-40A-52PTS) while finishing plus-33, the third-best rating in the league. He averaged 25 minutes per game and was the anchor of a Boston penalty kill that finished 11th in the NHL (83.5 percent).

Weber

This is the second straight year Weber’s been named a Norris Trophy finalist — last year, he narrowly lost to Lidstrom (727 voting points to Lidstrom’s 736) but also broke new ground by finishing 25th in Hart Trophy voting.

This season, he’s been equally good. Weber tied for the NHL lead in defensemen goals (19) and was the only blueliner in the league to hit double digits in power play goals, with 10. He also posted a career-best plus-21 rating and averaged over 26 minutes of ice time — the fifth-most in the NHL.

Karlsson

This is the first Norris nomination for the 21-year-old Swede. Karlsson’s scoring exploits took the NHL by storm this year as his 78 points finished 11th among all scorers — he finished the year with more points than the likes of Marian Hossa, Joe Thornton, Marian Gaborik, Martin St. Louis and Jarome Iginla.

His scoring exploits also put their mark in history. His 78 points were the second-highest total by a defenseman since the lockout — Nicklas Lidstrom had 80 in 2005-06 — and Karlsson also set Ottawa franchise records for goals, assists and points in a season by a defenseman.

PHT Related

Poll: Who will win the 2012 Norris Trophy?

Potential No. 1 overall pick Nolan Patrick to miss World Juniors

KELOWNA, CANADA - OCTOBER 25: Rourke Chartier #14 of Kelowna Rockets faces off against Nolan Patrick #19 of Brandon Wheat Kings during the first period on October 25, 2014 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
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Nolan Patrick will miss the upcoming World Juniors due to an injury that has kept him out of game action since mid-October.

Hockey Canada made the announcement Monday evening.

Patrick is a potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. He was recently named to Canada’s selection camp, however the 18-year-old forward has only played in six games with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings this season.

He has four goals and nine points, his season reduced because of this upper-body injury. Per Hockey Canada, Patrick hasn’t been medically cleared to attend the camp, so therefor he will miss the entire tournament.

Patrick has already missed the annual series last month between Canada and Russia. He also underwent sports hernia surgery in July.

Related: Pre-game reading: Some advice for Nolan Patrick

Video: Luongo denies Spooner with spectacular glove save

SUNRISE, FL - NOVEMBER 8: Goaltender Roberto Luongo #1 of the Florida Panthers skates prior to the game against the Calgary Flames at the BB&T Center on November 8, 2014 in Sunrise, Florida. The Flames defeated the Panthers 6-4. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
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Roberto Luongo was on his game in the first period versus the Boston Bruins on Monday.

The Florida Panthers goalie was called upon to make 14 saves in the opening 20 minutes, and none better than this glove stop on Ryan Spooner.

Spooner appeared to have the wide open net on a cross-ice pass, but Luongo threw up the glove in spectacular fashion to deny the Bruins forward less than three minutes into the game.

Flyers’ Read out four weeks with reported oblique muscle pull

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 02:  Matt Read #24 of the Philadelphia Flyers takes the puck in the second period against the Ottawa Senators at the Wells Fargo Center on April 2, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The Philadelphia Flyers have had their share of good news lately. They’ve won five in a row and goalie Steve Mason has been solid in that span, being named on Monday the NHL’s first star for the week.

But it hasn’t all been positive.

Forward Matt Read is out of the lineup for at least four weeks with an upper-body injury, the Flyers announced Monday. The injury occurred during Sunday’s game against the Nashville Predators.

It’s been reported the injury is an oblique muscle pull.

With Read out, the Flyers have recalled Taylor Leier from the American Hockey League.

Leier has been very productive in the minors. In 22 games this season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, he has six goals and 20 points.

Ken Holland is all for expanding playoff format to include Wild Card play-in game

Colorado Avalanche v Detroit Red Wings
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The topic of a possible Wild Card play-in game being added to the NHL’s playoff format isn’t new.

General managers around the league have talked about it before. The idea recently seemed to gain traction with at least the small majority, too.

Hockey insider Bob McKenzie once polled all 30 GMs to get a sense of how many would be in favor of such a thing — and 16 of those GMs were. You can count Ken Holland with the Detroit Red Wings as someone who would like to see a Wild Card play-in game.

From TSN:

Holland is also a baseball fan and likes the way MLB has created must-watch play-in games. In baseball, there are three division winners in each league. Those three teams qualify for the division round of the postseason. Two wild-card teams in each league square off in a one-game play-in to decide the fourth divisional qualifier on each side.

“I’m all for an extra team in each conference qualifying for the playoffs and having a wild- card play-in game,” said Holland. “It would add excitement down the stretch for many more teams fighting for the additional wild-card spot and two extra teams would be involved in the playoffs. Those play-in games would be dramatic.” 

Of course, the interesting thing about that is the Red Wings have a streak of 25 consecutive playoff appearances on the line.

But their best days — when Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg led them to a Stanley Cup in 2008 and the final the following year — are long behind them. The organization has undergone substantial change with Zetterberg getting older, the loss of Datsyuk to the KHL and Mike Babcock joining the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Red Wings could be in real danger of missing the post-season under its current format in 2017.

Detroit is two points out of the second Wild Card spot in the East, with New Jersey and Boston still ahead of them, although not currently in a playoff spot.