Pittsburgh Penguins Defenseman Kris Letang Snubbed for Norris Trophy Nomination


Another year has passed, and so has another Norris Trophy nomination. And, yet again, Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins is not in the discussion as one of the best defensemen in the league.

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Before injuries struck, both Kris Letang and Mark Giordano seemed to be runaway candidates. And, Giordano was the likely winner. Since then, the two sustained serious injuries, which seems to have derailed them from the conversation.

In the case of Giordano, I can see leaving him out of the discussion at this point. But, not nominating Kris Letang is an absolute travesty; especially considering Drew Doughty is one of the nominees.

The definition for the Norris Trophy is as follows…

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

The important piece of that description is “all-around”, meaning best overall defenseman.

The three nominees for the Norris Trophy are P.K. Subban, Erik Karlsson, and Drew Doughty. My assumption is that Erik Karlsson is the clear winner. While I don’t have an issue at all with Karlsson winning the award, I do have an issue with snubbing Kris Letang yet again. Here’s a look at how they stack up by the numbers.

(via stats.hockeyanalysis.com)

When it comes to possession numbers, Kris Letang is right in line with both P.K. Subban and Drew Doughty. Karlsson clearly has the upper hand in every category. As I said, the clear-cut winner for my money.

But, where Letang really stands out is his points-per-game. He outscored Drew Doughty in thirteen less games and finished just six points shy of Subban. He touted a .78 points-per-game average. In a full 82-game season that puts him at 64 points, two shy of Karlsson.

Should missing thirteen games take away from the brilliant season Letang put together? Is that enough to nominate Drew Doughty over him after having a pretty average season with all things considered?

All of the numbers that I charted above were pulled with all situations considered. To add to Kris Letang’s bid, he was behind only Doughty for shorthanded time-on-ice. So, he put up those types of numbers while also spending more time on the penalty kill, which will normally have a large negative impact on your possession numbers.

The following tweet by Elliote Friedman is indicative of the type of respect given to Letang by the national media.

Have you guys heard of Kris Letang from the Pittsburgh Penguins? No?

I’d recommend checking him out next season. My guess is that you’ll be pretty impressed and maybe give him the credit he’s due.

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