NHL Awards: Norris Trophy finalists

Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang, Montreal’s P.K. Subban and Minnesota’s Ryan Suter are this year’s finalist for the Norris Trophy, which goes to the league’s top defenseman. Here’s the release from the NHL.

Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins, P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens and Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild are the three finalists for the 2012-13 James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position,” the National Hockey League announced today. Each is a Norris Trophy finalist for the first time.

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association submitted ballots for the Norris Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced during the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, with more detail on format to be released at a later date.

Following are the finalists for the Norris Trophy, in alphabetical order:

Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins

Letang finished second in the scoring race among NHL defensemen despite missing more than a quarter of the schedule, posting 38 points (five goals, 33 assists) in 35 games to help the Penguins capture the Atlantic Division title and No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. The 26-year-old Montreal native led all defensemen in assists and was the only NHL blueliner to score at a point-per-game rate. Letang also posted a +16 rating, led the Penguins in average ice time per game (25:38) and ranked third on the club with 59 blocked shots.

P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens

Subban topped NHL defensemen in scoring, recording 38 points (11 goals, 27 assists) in 42 games as the Canadiens won the Northeast Division crown and posted the League’s fourth-best record. The 23-year-old Toronto native also led defensemen in power-play scoring with 26 points (seven goals, 19 assists), helping Montreal post the League’s fifth-best success rate with the man advantage (20.7%). Subban ranked second on the Canadiens in points, plus-minus (+12) and average ice time per game (23:14).

Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild

Suter anchored the Minnesota defense in his first season with the club, helping the Wild earn its first playoff berth since 2008. The 28-year-old native of Madison, Wis., led all NHL players in average ice time per game (27:16), including six games of 30-plus minutes in his final 11 contests. He capped the season by logging a season-high 32:54 and +2 rating in the team’s playoff-clinching 3-1 win at Colorado. Suter also contributed to the offense, ranking second among NHL defensemen in assists (28) and third in points (32). His uncle, Gary Suter, finished third in Norris Trophy balloting in 1988 with the Calgary Flames.

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