The Hockey Writers in the NHL are the ones who vote on many of the most important individual awards in the NHL. They are now starting to compile their lists of candidates for each award. The good writers are starting to talk to players, coaches and managers around the league to get their opinions to help form their own opinions.
I am not an expert, but only a play-by-play guy, but I have a hard time believing Erik Karlsson wont get real consideration for the Norris Trophy. Reputation is a huge part of the selection process and Karlsson hasn't been in the league long enough to have one, but his numbers have to get him some true consideration.
Karlsson is the best offensive defenceman in the NHL and it isn't a close race. On this day (Feb 23) he is 20 points ahead of Brian Campbell who is 2nd in the defenceman's points race. Its a huge margin against the best blue liners in the world. He is 22 points ahead of Shea Weber, 26 points ahead of Duncan Keith, 28 points ahead of Chara, and 29 points ahead of Nick Lidstrom. These are the players most often mentioned as Norris candidates.
Plus/Minus is also a major stat used in the selection process I am told. Karlsson isn't close to the +26 of Lidstrom, but now in the ballpark with his +15 after being a -33 last season. Clearly Karlsson has become a much better defender. He is close to Chara's +21 or Weber's +18. My counter point is, that if Karlsson played on one of the more mature teams with more experience and a better grasp of team defence, what would Karlsson's plus/minus be?
In a league where there is constant importance put on generating offence Karlsson's numbers should be given added weight especially considering how far ahead of his peers he is.
I don't know if the writers will vote a 21 year old into the winners position, but if Karlsson continues on his current pace and isn't in the top 3 after the final votes are tallied, then there is something wrong with this process.
See you at the rink.