Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban kids around with his miniature Norris Trophy keeper, parked beside the full-size Vézina Trophy. Subban was awarded the Norris on Saturday night in Chicago.
Bruce Bennett, Getty Images
P.K. Subban has won the James Norris Memorial Trophy awarded annually to the National Hockey League’s top defenceman.
The Canadiens’ star defenceman, who turned 24 last month, beat out Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild, the two other finalists for the award.
In his third season in the NHL, Subban tied with Letang for the league lead in points by a defenceman with 38. His seven power play goals were second only to teammate Andrei Markov who had a league-leading eight among defencemen.
Subban finished the regular season with a plus/minus differential of plus 12.
“This really is a team award,” Subban said on the CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada when the award was announced prior to Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final between the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins.
Subban thanked the Canadiens’ organization, fans and his teammates.
“It’s a great day for me. And I’m just happy to represent the organization.”
He also switched briefly into French to tell fans in Montreal he was excited for next year.
In a media conference call afterward, Subban said he didn’t think he would have achieved such a personal accomplishment at this point but by the same token “it’s all the more reason for me to continue to get better and to continue to be a leader and develop both as a player and as a person.”
“I just feel very privileged and honoured to have won it. And a lot of this credit needs to go to my teammates,” he said.
“These types of awards you have to give a lot of credit to your teammates because at the end of the day those are the guys that are helping you and playing with you on the ice.
“And I owe them a lot, especially coming into the season late. My teammates were amazing for me and we’ve been great all year.”
Subban missed the Canadiens’ training camp in January and the start of the 48-game lockout shortened season when he hadn’t come to terms with the team on a new contract. The 6-foot, 216-pound defenceman agreed to a two-year $5.75 million deal in late January that will pay him $3.75 million next season.
It was often reported that Subban had sought a deal longer than the two years for which he signed. He almost surely can expect to get long term with his next contract.
Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s top rookie. Canadiens’ forward Brendan Gallagher and Brandon Saad of the Chicago Blackhawks were the other finalists for the award.
The Norris Trophy winner is chosen by a vote of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
Five other Canadien defencemen have won the Norris trophy since its inception in 1954: the late Doug Harvey and Tom Johnson as well as Larry Robinson, Jacques Laperrière and Chris Chelios. Harvey won the Norris seven times–six times as a Hab and once with the New York Rangers. Robinson was a two-time winner and Chelios won it three times–once with the Canadiens and twice with the Chicago Blackhawks.
You can listen to what Subban had to say on the conference call here: AUDIO: Subban media teleconference