Columnist makes Shea Weber’s Norris Trophy case

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For those who lean more toward the defensive end of the Norris Trophy argument, a growing debate has emerged: should the award go to Boston Bruins behemoth Zdeno Chara or Nashville Predators stalwart Shea Weber? The Edmonton Journal’s David Staples gave Weber a slight edge in his study of the three candidates, placing Ottawa Senators offensive dynamo Erik Karlsson in third.

If a defenceman is doing his job defensively, he’s stopping opposing attackers by rubbing them out against the boards and taking the puck away. He covers his man in front of the net.

He denies passes to the slot. On two-on-ones, he denies the deadly pass across, while forcing a shot as far out of the slot as possible. He joins in the attack, but doesn’t make sloppy turnovers, nor does he make rash pinches in the neutral or attacking zones that lead to odd-man rushes.

By these measures, Weber did the best of the three finalists.

In a way, you can make an argument for all three candidates. Weber was one of the Predators’ leading offensive catalysts – not just with the “for a defenseman” qualifier – along with being a great asset in his own zone. Chara’s defensive prowess and slapper cannot be denied while one can easily argue that Karlsson’s offensive genius easily makes up for own-zone hiccups.

Weber may indeed be the best choice, but either way, Staples provides an interesting discussion of the trio, even gauging whether they were to blame for the goals that were scored when they were on the ice.