To mark the end of the 2016-17 regular season, NHL.com is running its final installment of the Trophy Tracker series this week. Today, we look at the race for the Norris Trophy.
Brent Burns has been so dominant this season that the San Jose Sharks defenseman is still the favorite to win the Norris Trophy despite a recent stretch of not scoring a point in seven games.
Burns didn't have a point from March 11-21 and went 16 games without a goal (Feb. 18-March 28), but still set NHL career highs in goals (29) and points (76). Burns also had 25 power-play points (eight goals, 17 assists).
Video: NYR@SJS: Burns blasts PPG to give Sharks OT win
He finished first among defensemen in goals and points, and ranked ninth in the League in scoring.
Burns, who hasn't missed a game in the past three seasons, has six game-winning goals this season, including three in overtime. He led the League in shots on goal (320) and the Sharks with 24:51 of ice time per game, playing in all situations.
Burns was the choice for the Norris Trophy as the League's best defenseman, according to a panel of 14 writers for NHL.com, although it wasn't unanimous. Burns, who was on all 14 ballots, finished first ahead of Erik Karlsson, who was on 13 ballots. Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning finished third.
Burns scored two points in a game 21 times and had four three-point games this season. He is a big reason why the Sharks clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
San Jose will try to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight season.
The Sharks, who led the Pacific Division for a large part of the season, slipped into third by going 4-9-0 to finish to the season; that coincided with Burns having six points (two goals, four assists).
That shows how valuable Burns is, and he likely will get votes for the Hart Trophy.
Even with his scoring slipping, he still managed to be an imposing force for the Sharks and should hold off Karlsson, who finished third among defensemen in scoring with 71 points (17 goals, 54 assists), to win his first Norris Trophy.
Voting totals (points awarded on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis): Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks, 67 points; Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators, 54; Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning 32; Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks, 19; Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild, 14; Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings, 9; Shea Weber, Montreal Canadiens, 9; Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets, 2; Andrei Markov, Montreal Canadiens 1; Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets, 1; Roman Josi, Nashville Predators, 1; Dougie Hamilton, Calgary Flames, 1.