Prior to the National Hockey League being forced to shut down the 2019 - 2020 regular season we were witnessing one of the tightest races for the Norris Trophy that we have seen in recent years. There were strong cases to be made for multiple players including John Carlson of the Washington Capitals, Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi, and Tampa Bay Lightning big man Victor Hedman, and although many had already formed their opinions on way or another there was no clear consensus on who should win.
This week a large group of writers at the National Hockey League's official website got together and put together their own unofficial vote for the Norris Trophy winner this year and over the weekend they published those results. In a vote that very much reflected the lack of consensus I just mentioned we had a winner declared by a mere 3 points, giving you an idea of just how close this race really is. So who did the writers pick? It was Washington's John Carlson just eeking out the victory.
According to the official tally from the NHL's official website, of the 18 writers on the panel 11 gave Carlson their first place votes. That was enough to get him a total of 80 points in their scoring system, but Roman Josi was extremely close behind getting 77 points in spite of earning just 6 first place votes from the group of writers. Hedman was a relatively distant third on the list here with just 50 points and he received only one first place vote, and I suspect that may be in large part due to the level of talent around him on the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Carlson is certainly not a bad pick. The talented Capitals defenseman has been solid for years now but, had the season not been shut down, he looked poise to break the single season record for most points by a Capitals defenseman this season and was in fact just 6 points away from doing so when the season came to an abrupt and unexpected halt. Unfortunately Carlson will never get the chance to finish the season now and as a result may never break that record, but if these NHL writers are a reflection of what the actual voting will look like it sounds like he may get a very nice consolation prize.