- Neil Greenberg, NHL
With the regular season winding down, it is time to hand out some hardware. Some of the awards are easy. The Richard Trophy goes to the player who scores the most goals (Steven Stamkos) while the Art Ross goes to the player who accumulates the most points (Evgeni Malkin).
There are others, however, that require a broader view and a deeper look, and that's where an advanced statistical lens reveals some very interesting winners. Start with the James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded to the top "defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position."
The Ottawa blueliner is tied for 10th in the NHL in scoring and has 25 more points than the next-best defensemen, Boston Bruins D-man Chara and Florida Panthers D-man Brian Campbell. Weber has been stellar for Nashville at both ends of the ice, is sixth in the league among defensemen with 49 points and also fifth in time on ice at 26:18 per contest. Chara, who won the Norris Trophy in 2009, is simply one of the best at shutting down the opposition's top players while playing for a Cup-contending team, and Lidstrom has only been voted the league's best defenseman seven out of the past 10 years.
Evgeni Malkin has been sensational. So has Shea Weber. But the statistical perspective argues for some less-renowned stars winning the NHL's major awards.