Chicago Blackhawks Defenseman Duncan Keith. Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
And the 2014-2015 James Norris Memorial Trophy goes to Chicago Defenseman Duncan Keith. Will we be hearing this come June? Can Duncan Keith really repeat as the Norris Trophy winner? Of course he can, but will he? I see no evidence of Duncan Keith slowing down and no reason why he can’t bring home the Norris once again this season.
Reason number one, Duncan Keith already has two goals and one assist in this young season and is averaging upwards of twenty-eight minutes on the ice. Of course the ice time number is a little inflated due to the fact that he’s only played four games so far this season. He had six goals and fifty-five assists in his Norris winning campaign last season and fourteen goals and fifty-five assists in 2010 when he also claimed the Norris trophy. Keith plays on the top power play unit and thanks to the shutdown pairing of Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson, he doesn’t have to worry about facing an opposing teams top forwards
Number two, he is coming off an offseason where he spent a good deal of time resting up, preparing for the long trek that is the NHL season. If Duncs can stay healthy and put up similar numbers to his previous Norris winning seasons then he will be bringing home some more hardware come June. Staying healthy shouldn’t be a problem for him since in an eighty-two game season he has never played less than seventy-four games, so durability isn’t a concern. Knock on wood.
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Lastly, Duncan Keith plays on one of the best, if not the best, team in the NHL. Patrolling the blue line for the Hawks definitely makes winning the Norris Trophy that much more attainable. Playing for the Hawks helps pad the plus/minus, not to mention the assists he gets just by simply giving the puck to either Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews. Take Shea Weber for example, the big defenseman possesses a howitzer of a shot, but plays on an average Nashville team where wins don’t come too easy. He put up great numbers last season, netting twenty-three goals and thirty-three assists, but was a minus two. Playing on a great team is most certainly advantageous if you want to take home any postseason awards.
Do you think Keith can repeat as the James Norris Memorial Trophy winner? Or will Shea Weber, Drew Doughty, or Ryan McDonagh keep him from repeating?
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