Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators has been named a finalist for the Norris Trophy in just his third NHL season.
Karlsson, 21, was announced as a first-time finalist for the award given to the top league defenceman alongside repeat nominees Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins and Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators."I’m very proud. It’s big honoured to be named, especially with the guys that are there," said Karlsson. "It’s been a good year. I’m nothing more than happy."
If the award was handed out based on offensive abilities alone, the Swede Karlsson would be a shoo-in. He finished with 19 goals and 59 assists for 78 points, leading the NHL's defenceman in all three categories.
He was tied for second among the league's rearguards with five game-winning goals, and an impressive two-thirds of his points came in even-strength situations.
Karlsson will look to complete a memorable day as the Senators try and upset the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday in Game 7 of their first round Eastern series (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET).
Bruins captain Chara won the Norris in 2008-09 and is a finalist for a fifth time. He led all NHL blue-liners with a plus-33 rating and was fourth with 40 assists, to go along with 12 goals.
Weber, also a captain, is a finalist for a second time. He finished second in voting last season.
The 26-year-old was the only one of the finalists to finish in the top 5 among defenceman with respect to ice time. He tied with Karlsson more most goals by a defender to go along with 30 assists for 49 points, and led all NHL defenders with 10 power-play goals and two short-handed markers.
The Norris has been awarded since 1954. Voting is determined by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
The winner will be announced in a June 20 ceremony in Las Vegas, broadcast by CBC Sports.