Carlson, Hedman and Josi named finalists for Norris Trophy

By WGR 550 SportsRadio

The National Hockey League announced its three finalists for the James Norris Memorial Trophy on Monday, which recognizes the defenseman "who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position." This award and voted upon annually by members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association at the end of the regular season.

The three finalists for the 2019-20 Norris Trophy are Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman and Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi.

Three worthy finalists for the Norris Trophy. Who are you taking between @JohnCarlson74, Victor Hedman and Roman Josi (@rjosi90)? #NHLAwards @NHLdotcom has more ➡️

— NHL (@NHL) July 20, 2020

Carlson is finally a top-three finalist for the Norris Trophy after finishing just outside of the top-three over the last two seasons. The 30-year-old blue liner had a career-year in his 10th full season with Washington, tying his career-high mark in goals (15), while setting new marks in assists (60) and points (75) in 69 games. If the 2019-20 regular season had not been shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Carlson could have put up 89 points this season (18+71) in a complete 82-game schedule for the Capitals.

Not only did Carlson finish the shortened season as the highest-scoring defenseman this season, he was also on pace to be the highest scoring defenseman in the NHL in 20 years since Brent Burns put up 83 points in the 2018-19 season.

In parts of 11 seasons with the Capitals since being drafted 27th overall in the 2008 NHL Draft, Carlson has become a key staple to the blue line in both ends of the rink. In 757 career games in Washington, Carlson has scored 105 goals, while also racking up 373 assists for 478 points.

The Capitals ended up taking the top-spot in the Metropolitan Division for the 2019-20 season with a 41-20-8 record and 90 points in the standings. They will compete in the Eastern Conference seeding round-robin tournament during the Stanley Cup Qualifying Round of the Return To Play format to determine the seeding in the East for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

2019-20 Norris Trophy finalist: John Carlson@JohnCarlson74 is a Norris nominee for the first time and can become the first @Capitals player to win the trophy since Rod Langway had back-to-back wins in 1982-83 and 1983-84. #NHLAwards #NHLStats

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 20, 2020

For a fourth-consecutive season, Hedman finishes the season as a top-three finalist for the Norris Trophy. In 2018, he won his first and only Norris when he beat out Drew Doughty and P.K. Subban for the honor.

This season with the Lightning was another productive year for Hedman with 11 goals and 44 assists for 55 points in just 66 games. The 29-year-old was on a pace to put up his second-best season in scoring with 65 points (13+52) in a possible 78 games for Tampa Bay. He did end up finishing the shortened season third in scoring, which was 20 points behind Carlson for first and 10 points behind Josi for second.

Hedman has become one of the best defensemen in the NHL since entering the league in the 2009-10 season after being drafted second overall in the 2009 NHL Draft. In 762 games through this point of his career, Hedman has put up 473 points (105+368) and has been named a three-time NHL All-Star.

After a slow start to the 2019-20 season, the Lightning re-gained their form and were able to finish the year with a 43-21-6 record and 92 points, which was good for second place in the Atlantic Division. Just like Washington, they will be competing in the seeding round-robin tournament in the Eastern Conference once the Return To Play plan commences on Saturday, Aug. 1 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

2019-20 Norris Trophy finalist: Victor HedmanHedman, the first @TBLightning player to capture the award (2017-18), is the first Norris finalist in four straight seasons since countryman Nicklas Lidstrom (2005-06 to 2008-09 w/ DET). #NHLAwards #NHLStats

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 20, 2020

As mentioned earlier, Josi finished the 2019-20 season second in scoring among defensemen with 65 points (16+49) in 69 games played. He was on pace to score 19 goals this season and register 58 assists for 77 points, which all would have been career-high marks for the 30-year-old defenseman.

The captain of the Predators is finally a top-three finalist for the Norris after being in the top-five for voting in the 2014-15 season and 2015-16 season, while finishing seventh in voting over the last two seasons. In his nine seasons in Nashville, Josi has gone on to score 413 points (109+304) in 632 games after being a second round pick of the team in the 2008 NHL Draft.

This season for the Predators was a bit of a down year compared to seasons past, where they put up a 35-26-8 record in 69 games and ended up fifth in the Central Division. However, they did qualify as the sixth-seeded team in the Western Conference Qualifying Round and will take on the Arizona Coyotes in a best-of-five series at the start of the Return To Play format in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

2019-20 Norris Trophy finalist: Roman Josi@rjosi90 is a first-time Norris finalist and is vying to become the first defenseman in @PredsNHL history to capture the award. #NHLAwards #NHLStats

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 20, 2020

The winner of the Norris Trophy will be announced during the Conference Finals.

The Hart Trophy, given "to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team," is the final award the league will name their finalists for on Tuesday.