(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The James Norris Memorial Trophy is awarded to the defenseman who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-around ability in the position.

This is an interesting mix of talent with all three playing major minutes for their team and all three lining up against the best the opposition has to offer. They are also close in offensive production, especially in terms of primary points during even strength. Using primary points – goals and primary assists – helps weed out gratuitous secondary assists which are subject to a large objective bias.

Keith and Chara each have 15 primary points at even strength while Weber is close with 14. However, on the power play, Keith falls way behind the other two, despite getting more power-play time (3 minutes 10 seconds per game) than Chara (2:26) and Weber (3:07).

Defensively, we see a separation of the field in terms of shot attempt differential. Ignoring special teams and lead-protecting  (FenClose) situations, Keith (plus-260) and Chara (plus-198) both outpace Weber (minus-85) by a large margin.

A full tale of the tape:

Finalist Team GP G A P TOI/G FenClose Diff
Duncan Keith CHI 79 6 55 61 24:38 260
Shea Weber NSH 79 23 33 56 26:54 -85
Zdeno Chara BOS 77 17 23 40 24:39 198

Looks like a two-horse race to me.

Note: I am a member of the international chapter of the PHWA but did not participate in this year’s voting.

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