Sens captain Erik Karlsson has been named as one of the three finalist for the James Norris Memorial Trophy along with San Jose's Brent Burns and Tampa Bay's Viktor Hedman.
This marks the fourth nomination for Karlsson to go along with winning the award twice in 2012 and 2015.
Karlsson's regular season numbers are habitually near the top of most statistical categories among defencemen, but this season his personal success has morphed into the team's success as the Senators have rebranded their game under head coach Guy Boucher finishing second in the Atlantic Division.
"This team as a whole has had it's best season as long as I've been around," Karlsson shared with the media prior to Game #5 against the Boston Bruins. "As for my own game, I feel like I'm comfortable where I'm at and I feel comfortable within the team and the system that we're playing right now."
Video: OTT@PIT: Karlsson helps out Anderson with stick stop
Under Boucher's new system Karlsson has embraced the roles he's been given which now includes nearly a minute more of penalty kill ice-time/game (2:09 this season up from 1:19 last year) to go along with finishing second in the league in blocked shots with 201. His commitment to improving the defensive side of his game doesn't seem to have affected his offensive output either as he finished the season with 17 goals, 54 assists in 77 games, good for second among defencemen in both of those categories.
The Sens' coach has trumpeted Karlsson's leadership and commitment to winning all season long and Boucher repeated those sentiments this morning ahead of their Game #5 match-up against the Bruins.
"For him, it's always been about the team all year long," Boucher told reporters during his press availability on Friday. "The only thing that he's cared about since Day 1 is winning."
When pressed regarding what Karlsson has meant to his team this season, Boucher verbally submitted his unsanctioned vote for the award.
"He's been an outstanding leader and he has a total, complete game right now in all aspects. Do I believe that he deserves that trophy? 100%."
The NHL Awards are set to take place in Las Vegas on Wednesday, June 21 at T-Mobile Arena.