Last night was supposed to be a big night for John Carlson.
Instead, John Carlson was denied the Norris Trophy. After the killer season he had, it was clear that the Washington Capitals defenseman was a lock to win the trophy. Instead, the hockey writers who voted had other ideas but I’m sure Carlson got a good number of votes from the Caps beat writers that see him on a nightly basis.
Instead, the NHL announced Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators as the winner of the Norris Trophy. Caps fans everywhere were not happy. Just like Mike Green over a decade ago, Carlson got snubbed and denied. The last Cap to win the award was Rod Langway.
Carlson scored 15 goals and added 60 assists for 75 points in 69 games. Josi had 16 goals and 49 assists for 65 points in 69 games. So how close were they in the advanced stats category? Very close.
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On even strength, Carlson’s Corsi For percentage finished at 52.3 percent while Josi’s was at 52.6 percent. If we’re measuring by that, that’s a 0.3 separation.
The silver lining is that Carlson still got recognition in getting named to the NHL’s First All Star Team as voted on by representatives of the Professional Hockey Writers Associaton. Carlson was named to the second team last season and this marked the first time he was named to the first team.
The only other defensemen in Capitals history to make the NHL’s First All Star Team were Mike Green in 2008-09 and 2009-10, Scott Stevens in 1987-88 and Rod Langway in 1982-83 and 1983-84. Langway is the only defensemen out of the trio to win the Norris when he won it in those back to back years.
Carlson led all defensemen with 75 points and 60 assists and his 1.09 points per game was the highest total by a defenseman since Ray Bourque, Al MacInnis, and Sergei Zubov in the 1993-94 season. Carlson was on pace for 89 points over an 82 game season and there was conversation that he could even reach or pass 100.
But the writers had other ideas and we won’t understand why Carlson got denied the Norris Trophy. Did it have something to do with the way the team played down the stretch in the second half? Does the NHL just hate the Caps?
Either way, I expect Carlson to only get better and have a monster year next season. Maybe he’ll make up for it and win the Norris. Or maybe they’ll win the biggest trophy of them all.