The National Hockey League announced today that Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is one of three finalists for the Norris Trophy, which is awarded annually to the National Hockey League's top “defensive player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.”
The Norris Trophy is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (WHWA). All NHL award winners will be announced during the 2013 Stanley Cup Final in June.
Montreal’s P.K. Subban and Minnesota’s Ryan Suter are the other two finalists.
Letang, who was nominated for the first time, will be vying to join Randy Carlyle (1981) as the only defensemen in Penguins history to capture the Norris Trophy.
Letang, 26, enjoyed arguably the finest season of his six-plus year career, tying Subban for the NHL lead among defensemen with 38 points (5G-33A) in just 35 games played. Letang’s 33 assists and 25 even-strength points were tops among NHL blueliners.
The Montreal, Quebec native became the first Penguins defenseman to lead his position in scoring since Hall of Famer Paul Coffey did so with 103 points in 1989-90. Letang’s 1.09 point-per-game average was the highest for any NHL defenseman since Coffey averaged 1.29 points per game for the Detroit Red Wings in 1994-95.
Letang’s game was more than just offense, as he was also one of the league’s top defensive players this year. His plus-16 rating – the second-highest total of his career – ranked eighth among NHL D-men, while his 25:38 average time on ice per game placed seventh overall.
Letang’s notable accomplishments during the regular season included a single-game career-high four assists against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on March 2 and a career-high six-game assist streak between March 2-12 (12 total).