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Weber having ‘best season as a pro,’ says Trotz

Mar 27, 2014, 12:19 PM EDT

SheaWeber

The Nashville Predators are going to miss the playoffs for the second straight year, but their captain’s never played better.

That’s what head coach Barry Trotz said this week, claiming that Shea Weber is in the midst of his best season since breaking into the NHL nine years ago.

“He’s not getting the accolades across the league that he would if we were a little higher in the standings, but it’s by far his best season in terms of production,” Trotz said, per The Tennessean. “And we’re basically breaking in five defensemen, maybe four … and he’s having a terrific season.

“So to me, he’s having by far his best season as a Predator, as a pro.”

Statistically speaking, Weber’s been very Weber-like this season. His 18 goals are five off his career-best 23 and his 46 points are seven off his career high of 53. He’s playing a ton of minutes, which is nothing new — though it’s worth mentioning he’s averaging a career-high 27:56 TOI per game, in large part because of all the new blueliners Trotz referenced.

The bigger narrative, it seems, is pushing Weber’s Norris Trophy candidacy.

After finishing as the runner up to Nicklas Lidstrom in 2011 and Erik Karlsson in 2012, Weber plummeted to eighth in voting last year, failing to get a single first-place ballot. At times, it seems like Weber’s play is taken for granted (because he’s so consistently good) and often overlooked because of the market he plays in.

There might be something to it.

Though he undoubtedly has many years left in his career to win one, the fact Weber — who turns 29 in August — hasn’t won a Norris yet is kind of surprising; especially since three of the last four winners (Karlsson, P.K. Subban, Duncan Keith) were all 26 or younger.

Of course, the age thing doesn’t mean all that much.

Lidstrom and Scott Niedermayer didn’t win their first Norris Trophies ’til they were 30; Zdeno Chara was 31 and, perhaps most famously, Hockey Hall of Famer Al MacInnis won his first and only Norris when he was 35 years old.

Whatever the case, Trotz wants it to be known Weber should be in consideration for this year’s Norris.

“If you were doing a coaching poll, I know he’d be in the top three,” Trotz said. “He has been an absolute beast this year in terms of the way he’s played. On and off the ice, he’s taken a leadership role. He’s been a difference maker.

“He can play in every situation you want to throw at him, and he’s having a great season.”

  1. ibieiniid - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    Poile’s orbital was just collateral damage.

  2. slaugin - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:22 PM

    The Norris Trophy has turned into a joke. Should be changed to the best offensive-defensive player of the year because goals scored is clearly the criteria

    • imleftcoast - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:47 PM

      Subban

      • ibieiniid - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:50 PM

        OH YOU, TABARNAC!

      • ibieiniid - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:51 PM

        was it obvious that I don’t really know what that word means, other than I hear French Canadians yell it on NHL13 a lot?

  3. thailer35 - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    OEL’s better.

    • pfhockey - Mar 27, 2014 at 5:35 PM

      30/30 teams would rather have Weber.

  4. hockeyflow33 - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    At this point, not winning the Norris trophy proves you can actually play defense

  5. kingcobraman - Mar 27, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    sucks for Weber to play for the Pred if was on a more prominent team he could have already had his Norris trophy ….

  6. bruinpred - Mar 27, 2014 at 5:26 PM

    Lidstrom got his last Norris with a -3 when Chara was + 33. Might as well pick names out of a hat.

  7. muckleflugga - Mar 27, 2014 at 6:29 PM

    bruinpred

    aside from the fact plus minus is grossly overrated and essentially useless as a statistic …

    a defence-man with low plus minus could be every bit as good as bobby orr doug harvey or nick lidstrom … what matters is the other five players on the ice while they’re playing

    plus minus would only be relevant if lidstrom and chara or any other candidate were in possession of the puck one hundred percent of the time when playing

    i happen to like chara and saw him play in junior … but putting chara in the same conversation with players including harvey orr and lidstrom among other greats beggars belief

    those guys owned the game when they played … chara’s big and dominating but he gets had regularly … ditto weber and subban

    weber’s clearly above average but not a legitimate norris candidate in context of award history … outside of barry trotz’s need to promote a player in absence of any other good news in nashville he doesn’t rate

    the wwf newcomer of the year … yes … lmao

    subban’s win was an anomaly that demonstrates in and of itself how weak the norris candidate pool has become

    perhaps the norris and all individual awards should only be awarded in years of outstanding excellence versus simple habit

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