Kings GM pushes for Doughty to win Norris; change voting process
Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi strongly believes Drew Doughty should win the Norris Trophy this season.
Lombardi recently spoke about the award and was asked if he thought Doughty, his star defenseman, should receive his first Norris Trophy. The award is annually given to the defenseman “who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.”
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Said Lombardi, “Not even close. All you’ve got to do is stay up and watch West Coast games, and you’ll know why, and I won’t even have to explain it to you. You know what the beauty of that position is? It’s the classic case where greatness is in the subtleties. That No. 1 defenseman, what makes him special? Unless you really understand the game and see some of the things he does, you have to study the game, not watch the game, and realize what he does is really special, and has nothing to do with highlights and the points and all of this stuff.”
Doughty and Ottawa Senators’ blueliner Erik Karlsson are considered the two favorites for the award this season. Karlsson, a two-time winner, led defensemen with 82 points this season. He’s considered the premier offensive defenseman of his generation, but is believed by some in hockey to not be as polished defensively as Doughty, who had 51 points in 82 games this season. Doughty averaged 2:37 of shorthanded ice-time per-game this year to Karlsson’s 1:19.
Karlsson’s advanced stats, however, prove he’s a better all-around defender than his reputation would indicate.
Lombardi didn’t reference Karlsson by name, but took a dig at offensive defensemen in general. Also, Karlsson’s Senators didn’t make the playoffs, and Lombardi took note of the fact that past offensive Norris winners made the postseason.
“It’s not the highlight-film position. It’s not supposed to be, and then we turned it (into one) because (of) Paul Coffey,” Lombardi said “I guess, he pulled it off. But at least Paul Coffey was in the playoffs.”
At points this season, Karlsson had been compared to Coffey.
Voting for the Norris Trophy closes today and is conducted by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. Doughty has never won the award. Last season he received the most first-place votes, but lost to Karlsson. Doughty is a two-time finalist for the Norris.
Lombardi said he believes general managers should have the final say in voting for the Norris.
“What I would say is that we should change, and we’ve actually discussed this among the general managers, I wouldn’t completely cut the media out (of the voting),” Lombardi said. “What I would say is have the media give us three candidates and let us vote on it because it’s too important a trophy. It reflects way more…way more, than what people are looking at.”
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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper