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Trophy Tracker

Giordano favorite in Norris Trophy race

Flames defenseman tops Burns for award according to panel

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer

To mark the conclusion of the 2018-19 regular season, is running its fifth installment of the Trophy Tracker series this week. Today, we look at the race for the Norris Trophy, the award given annually to the top defenseman in the NHL as selected in a Professional Hockey Writers Association poll.

Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames has the Stanley Cup on his mind, but he could also get some hardware at the NHL Awards in June.

Giordano could become the fourth player age 35 or older to win the Norris Trophy in its 65-season history; Nicklas Lidstrom did it four times, Doug Harvey three times, and Al MacInnis once.

This season, the 35-year-old finished second among defensemen in scoring with 74 points (17 goals, 57 assists), his NHL career high, and led the League with a plus-39 rating. He was an even or plus-rated player in 58 of 78 games this season.

That's why a panel of 21 writers voted Giordano the winner of the Norris Trophy. He was the only player named on each of the 21 ballots and finished well ahead of Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks and Morgan Rielly of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"There's definitely a positive influence in our room, especially amongst the young D," Flames coach Bill Peters said. "You don't want to be a young D cutting your teeth in this league and all of a sudden you're off the ice before him all the time, you're out of the rink before him all the time.

"When you're at the rink, be productive, and that's what he is. He's very productive with the use of his time."

Giordano, Calgary's captain since the 2013-14 season, helped the Flames (50-25-7) win the Pacific Division and finish first in the Western Conference. It's the most wins and points (107) for the Flames since 1988-89, when they had 54 wins and finished with 117 points before winning the Stanley Cup.

Video: ANA@CGY: Giordano buries slap shot past Miller

The Flames have never had a Norris Trophy winner.

"It always feels good to contribute and get points offensively, but again, we have such a good team, we score so many goals that a lot of guys' numbers are going to look really good this year," Giordano said.

Giordano helped the Flames tighten up defensively this season and is a big reason they finished second in the NHL with a plus-66 goal differential.

"It's every night," Peters said. "Each and every night. He's in on all of the big plays. ... You've seen it all year, and he just continues to play at a high level."

Giordano averaged 24:14 of ice time per game to lead Calgary. He plays in all situations; Giordano had 21 power-play points and six shorthanded points (four goals).

But he didn't take credit for the Flames' success this season after they missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2017-18.

"We've been pretty consistent all year," Giordano said. "Our style of play and our details is what helps us every night. We have a lot of depth."

Voting totals (points awarded on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis): Mark Giordano, Flames, 101 points (19 first-place votes); Brent Burns, Sharks, 60 points (two first-place votes); Morgan Rielly, Maple Leafs, 52 points; John Carlson, Washington Capitals, 30 points; Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning, 24 points; Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins, 19 points; Roman Josi, Nashville Predators, nine points; Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets, nine points; Ryan McDonagh, Lightning, eight points; John Klingberg, Dallas Stars, one point; Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes, one point; Mattias Ekholm, Predators, one point

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