Everything you wanted to know about the Norris Trophy but were afraid to ask - The Hockey News on Sports Illustrated

Everything you wanted to know about the Norris Trophy but were afraid to ask

The Boston Bruins have had more Norris Trophy winners than any other NHL team, with two all-time all-stars doing the damage.
Author:
Publish date:
USA Today

USA Today

The Boston Bruins have won more Norris Trophies than any other NHL team, and their total of 14 comes almost exclusively from two all-time defensemen. (Pretty sure you can guess who, but we'll get into that in a moment.) Meanwhile, nearly half (15) of the league's 31 teams have never had a Norris winner.

Here's a team-by-team look at the Norris Trophy standings over the years, followed by (just about) everything you wanted to know about the Norris Trophy but were afraid to ask.

NORRIS TROPHY STANDINGS(first awarded in 1953-54)

Boston 14
Montreal 12
Detroit 9
Chicago 8
NY Rangers 4
NY Islanders 3
Edmonton 2
Los Angeles 2
Ottawa 2
St. Louis 2
Washington 2
Cgy/NJ/Pit/SJ/TB 1
Ana/Ari/Buf/Car/Col/Clb/Dal/Fla/Min/Nsh/Phi/Tor/Van/Veg/Wpg 0

Notable:

  • Boston's proudest: The Bruins' total of 14 Norris Trophies would be even greater if the award had been around when Eddie Shore was running roughshod on the league in the late '20s and 1930s. As it is, Shore had to be happy with his four Hart Trophies, just like Boston had to be happy that Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque were next in line as iconic Bruins defensemen. Orr finished third in voting as a rookie in 1966-67, then won an NHL-record eight straight Norris Trophies. Bourque won five times in an eight-season span from 1986-87 to '93-94, and was nominated an astounding nine other times. Zdeno Chara is the only other Bruins defender to take the Norris, doing so in 2008-09, and he's been a finalist on four other occasions.
  • Harvey for the Habs: Before there was Bobby Orr in Boston, there was Doug Harvey in Montreal. The Canadiens legend won the Norris Trophy seven of the first nine times it was awarded, the first six times with Montreal and then once with the Rangers in 1960-61. For all of the Canadiens' blueline greats over the decades, Larry Robinson is the team's only other multiple Norris winner, with two. Robinson was nominated six times in total. P.K. Subban was the Habs' most recent Norris recipient in 2012-13.
  • Detroit's dominant D-man: Red Kelly won the first-ever Norris Trophy in 1953-54 and Paul Coffey winged through Motown and won in '94-95. But when you talk about award-winning Detroit defensemen, it's all about Nicklas Lidstrom. After three runner-up finishes in the late '90s, Lidstrom won seven Norris Trophies in a 10-year span. He's tied with Harvey for second-most all-time, behind only Orr. That's good company.
  • Best of the Blackhawks: Pierre Pilote, obscured by the all-time greatness of Harvey and Orr, never really got the recognition he deserved. I know this because that's what he told me on the phone when I was researching a story several years ago. (Nearly 80 at the time, he was still full of energy and passionate about the game. It was a pleasure to talk hockey with him. Pilote passed away at 85 in 2017.) During a six-season span in the '60s, Pilote won three straight Norris Trophies and placed second the three other times. Chris Chelios won two Norris Trophies with Chicago – and one in Montreal – and Duncan Keith has won a pair for the Hawks as well.
  • Spotlight on Broadway: Harry Howell can lay claim to being the guy who beat out Bobby Orr for the Norris Trophy. The Rangers defenseman won the award in 1966-67, with Orr coming in third as a rookie. (Orr, as mentioned, would go on to win eight in a row.) Brian Leetch is New York's only two-time winner, in 1991-92 and '96-97. Bill Gadsby was a three-time runner-up in the '50s and Brad Park was a four-time runner-up in the '70s.
  • One man is an Island: The Isles are the highest-ranked non-Original Six team on the list, thanks to Denis Potvin's three Norris Trophies in the late '70s. Potvin was nominated six times in total – no other Islanders defenseman has ever been a Norris finalist.
  • Coffey to go: Paul Coffey's consecutive Norris Trophies in 1984-85 and '85-86 represent the two times the Oilers have won. He was nominated three other times in the '80s, once with Edmonton and twice with Pittsburgh. Coffey claimed a third Norris in '94-95 with Detroit, becoming one of only eight defensemen to win the award three or more times.
  • Two for the money: They're polar opposites in their playing styles, but Erik Karlsson's two Norris Trophies for Ottawa in the early 2010s and Rod Langway's pair for Washington in the early '80s are the only times their respective teams have won the award.
  • Worth the wait: The last three players to win the Norris Trophy were a breakthrough for their respective teams. Mark Giordano was Calgary's first-ever Norris winner in 2018-19, Victor Hedman was Tampa Bay's first in '17-18 and Brent Burns was San Jose's first in '16-17.
  • Which way to Toronto? Incredibly, the Leafs have never had a Norris Trophy winner. Borje Salming and Tim Horton were both nominated four times, and both finished second twice and third twice. Salming's nomination in 1978-79 was the last time a Leafs defenseman was on the Norris ballot.
  • Ducks not allowed: After Anaheim's Scott Niedermayer finished second to Lidstrom in 2005-06, the Ducks' Niedermayer and Chris Pronger placed second and third behind Lidstrom in '06-07. Those are the only times an Anaheim defender has been a Norris finalist.
  • No nominees: Six NHL franchises have never had a Norris finalist – Carolina (including Hartford), Columbus, Florida, Vancouver, Vegas and Winnipeg (including the Atlanta Thrashers). Arizona avoids this category on a technicality, as the Coyotes get credit for the (original) Winnipeg Jets' Phil Housley finishing third in Norris voting in 1991-92. The franchise relocated to Phoenix four years later.

TOP HEADLINES