Drew Doughty will win a Norris Trophy in his playing career. That will happen. Likewise, it’s easy to see Anze Kopitar winning a Selke Trophy as the league’s top defensive forward at some point in his already accomplished career. Unfortunately, 2015 won’t be that year.
Erik Karlsson won his second career Norris Trophy and Patrice Bergeron won his third career Selke Trophy at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Rob Blake’s win in 1998 remains the only Norris Trophy claimed by a King, while the Selke continues to be dominated by Midwestern and eastern teams. Since it was first awarded to Bob Gainey in 1978 (and won by Gainey in the three successive seasons), the Selke has been won by a player for an Eastern Time Zone team 29 times, a Central Time Zone team 7 times, and a Mountain or Pacific Time Zone team once: Ryan Kesler in 2011. Thank you for bearing with the continual reminder of a factoid you probably can recite verbatim at this point.
Kopitar was not the favorite for the Selke this year, though he did produce outstanding possession and defensive numbers again. His +359 differential in five-on-five shot attempts led all forwards, and amongst forwards, his +177 five-on-five shot on goal differential was tied for the league lead with Bergeron. Kopitar took five minor penalties and finished with a +10 penalty plus/minus, which ranked second on the Kings and tied for 26th in the NHL. His five-on-five Corsi-for rate was 59.22%, which ranked fourth amongst league forwards. As it turns out, this year’s Selke was actually an incredibly close two-way race between Bergeron and Jonathan Toews.
Selke voting — Bergeron and Toews close. pic.twitter.com/zKwjRPatH5
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 24, 2015
Doughty not winning the Norris, on the other hand, stings for the defenseman and stings for Kings fans. In terms of the full package, his palpable competitiveness and so many more tangible and intangible assets, he represents the absolute cream of the crop of elite NHL defensemen, and in a season in which the Kings dealt with Willie Mitchell’s and Slava Voynov’s subtractions, and given the level of play he maintained while averaging 28:59 of ice time per night, he was certainly as deserving of the award as any. The voting was incredibly close, and Doughty actually finished with nine more first place votes than Karlsson:
Norris voting was super close. pic.twitter.com/6X8fkERU5P
— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) June 24, 2015
Repeat after me: Drew Doughty will win a Norris Trophy. At some point. And probably more than one.
P.K. Subban was also a finalist for the Norris – he won the trophy in 2013 – and didn’t make much of any perceived friendly personal rivalry with Doughty. (Doughty said “I’m going to have to outplay him if we want to win the game,” the morning of a December game in Montreal.)
“Listen, he’s a great player but my job every night is to be the best player I can be. And if that’s against him and I end up being the first star of the game, then great,” he said on Wednesday. “But you have to remember something, that our responsibility as a team is to win hockey games. That’s the most important thing and I think we were 1-1 this year. We beat them in our barn and they beat us in theirs.”
The Kings will learn shortly whether Kopitar will win the Lady Byng Trophy, awarded annually “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”