TAMPA — Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman on Monday was named a Norris Trophy finalist for the sixth consecutive season.
The trophy, which will be awarded ahead of Game 3 or between Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup final, goes “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-around ability in the position.”
The Predators’ Roman Josi and Avalanche’s Cale Makar also were nominated by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
“It’s certainly a great honor, once again,” Hedman said. “The trophy that matters most is the one we play for as a team, obviously, but to get this individual recognition is always great.”
Hedman won the award in 2017-18, the only Lightning player to do so. He finished third on four other occasions (2016-17, 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21).
Josi won the award in 2019-20. Makar was a finalist in 2020-21, when the trophy went to the Rangers’ Adam Fox.
Hedman, 31, placed second among NHL defensemen with 65 assists in 82 games this season. He was third in goals (20) and points (85). His six game-winning goals tied Makar and the Blues’ Justin Faulk for most among league blueliners.
Hedman set career highs for goals, assists and points while returning from a torn meniscus, which he played on for three months last season as the team chased a second straight Stanley Cup.
Former Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom was the last player to be named a Norris finalist for six straight seasons, from 1997-98 through 2002-03. The Hall of Famer won the trophy seven times in his 20-year career.
Josi became the NHL’s highest-scoring defenseman in 29 years with 96 points in 80 games. Only six defensemen in the past 50 years have had more in a single season. His 58 assists are the most by a defenseman since Sergei Zubov’s 77 in 1993-94.
Makar scored 28 goals, becoming just the fifth defenseman in the past 30 years to score that many. He ranked second among blueliners in points (86) and ranked fifth in plus-minus rating (+48).
Lightning forward Alex Killorn is a finalist for the Masterton Trophy, awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to the game.
How the Times’ PHWA members voted:
Eduardo A. Encina: Josi, Makar, Hedman
Mari Faiello: Makar, Josi, Hedman
Cooper on Trotz firing
Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello turned some heads around the league Monday when he announced the firing of coach Barry Trotz after four seasons, saying the team needs “a new voice.”
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Trotz, 59, led the Isles to the playoffs in his first three seasons in New York, including two conference final appearances, where they lost to the Lightning in 2020 and 2021.
The Islanders missed the postseason this year, finishing 16 points behind the Capitals for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. He won a Stanley Cup with Washington in 2018.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper, a a longtime friend of Trotz, said it was “definitely unfortunate news” and “makes you take a step back and think about the business at times.”
“I am a personal friend and big fan of Barry Trotz,” Cooper said. “I think that’s well documented, but I’m also a fan of Lou Lamoriello. … This is professional sports, and I guess there is a little bit of a culture, you’re hired to be fired. … I do think whatever the reason was, in Lou’s mind, there’s probably some reason for it.
“On the other side of things, I think Barry is a top-flight coach in this league that probably, if we look at — we were their only stumbling block between them and probably winning some Stanley Cups.”
- The Lightning are hosting an official watch party for Game 5 Tuesday on the south lawn at Armature Works.
- Game 6 will begin Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Amalie Arena. It will be broadcast locally by Bally Sports Sun.
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