Washington Capitals: John Carlson inching closer to Norris Trophy

John Carlson, Washington Capitals (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
John Carlson, Washington Capitals (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

John Carlson of the Washington Capitals has a chance to win the Norris.

Washington Capitals defensemen John Carlson was named a finalist for the Norris Trophy the NHL announced on Monday. Carlson is one of three finalists for the trophy that is presented to the top defensemen in the NHL joining Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators and Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Ballots were submitted by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the conclusion of the regular season with the top three vote getters announced as finalists.

If Carlson wins it, he will become the second player in Capitals franchise history to claim this prestigious award since Rod Langway when he won it in back to back years in 1982-83 and 1983-84. Carlson recorded 75 points in 69 games this season, 10 points ahead of Josi and 20 points ahead of Hedman and led all defensemen.

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Carlson is the eighth defenseman in NHL history to hold a 10 point lead over the next highest scoring defensemen and a 20 point lead over the third highest and the first since Erik Karlsson did it for the Ottawa Senators in the 2011-12 season. Karlsson won the Norris Trophy that season.

Carlson was on pace for an 89 point season and probably would’ve gotten it if the season completed their regular 82 games. Only nine defensemen in NHL history have recorded 89 points in a season. It would’ve been the highest since 1993-94 when Ray Bourque had 91 points and Sergei Zubov recorded 89.

Carlson had 60 assists on the season which led all defensemen and ranked fourth among all players in the NHL. Carlson is the first defenseman to rank fourth or better in the NHL in assists in a single season since Hedman did it in 2016-17 for the Lightning. Carlson was on pace for 71 assists prior to the season getting suspended.

Carlson averaged 1.09 points per game which was the highest total by a defensemen since Bourque, Al MacInnis, and Zubov did it in the 1993-94 season. Bourque won the Norris Trophy that year. Carlson’s 75 points were the fourth most by a Caps defensemen in franchise history, trailing Larry Murphy’s franchise record from the 1986-87 season by six.

Josi posted career highs in several categories with 65 points, 16 goals, and 49 assists. His points and assists each were franchise records for a defensemen and he had the most points in a season by any Predators player since 2009 and had the eighth-best scoring season in team history.


Hedman already won the Norris Trophy in the 2017-18 season. That year saw him score 17 goals and add 46 assists for 63 points. This season Hedman has scored 11 goals and added 44 assists for 55 points.

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Carlson has a bit of competition but there’s a reason why there’s been talk around the locker room and among other hockey sites that he deserves the Norris Trophy. Here’s hoping the votes swing in Carlson’s favor.