LeBrun: Polling NHL coaches on who they think should win the Norris Trophy

One of the things about NHL awards that has always seemed odd to me is that head coaches don’t vote on any of the major ones.

General managers vote on the Vezina. The NHL Broadcasters’ Association votes for the Jack Adams. GMs and a panel of leagues executives and selected media members vote on the Jim Gregory GM of the Year Award.

And selected members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association (150 voters total, including me) vote on the rest of the major awards, including the Hart, Norris, Calder and Selke.

Now, I’m not suggesting taking away anyone’s vote. Of course not. But one suggestion: Maybe head coaches should join the broadcasters in a broader vote for the Jack Adams? Just a thought. I have many thoughts. Most of them get ignored.

But I digress. As I have done previously from time to time over the years, I decided this week to poll the NHL’s head coaches on the Norris Trophy race, to see how they break down a competitive field.

There’s still a month to go, but I thought it would interesting to get a feel from the guys who have a front-row ticket to watch the top blueliners in the world plying their trade on a nightly basis.

While a lot of people view the Norris Trophy race as a done deal with Erik Karlsson lapping the field offensively, our numbers guru Dom Luszczyszyn disagreed in his latest Norris breakdown, saying it’s a close race in his view.

I asked the head coaches this week for one vote only, just one name. First-place votes only, baby.

Also, coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players.

Here are the results of my polling, with 30 of the 32 head coaches taking part:

The headline here, really, is Morrissey getting so much love, with a strong second-place finish. He didn’t rate in Dom’s latest Norris piece, although Dom has had him in other Norris updates earlier this season. It’s obviously a statement when seven rival NHL coaches choose you for Norris. That’s big-time respect, and there’s no question the Jets’ No. 1 defenseman has earned it with a career season.

Some comments (all via text message, and some edited lightly for clarity) from coaches who voted for him in my poll, which was conducted anonymously to allow them to speak freely:

• “I vote for Josh Morrissey. Mostly for his emergence and impact on the Jets’ blue line. Other than (goalie Connor) Hellebuyck, he has been their most impactful player on both sides of the puck.”

• “Playing a great two-way game. Huge piece in the Jets’ defensive game and doesn’t have a lot of help in that area.”

• “Touches and is a factor in all parts of the game.”

• “Helping his team as much as anyone. Great fit for their team.”

• “He has poise. A threat with his shot and vision. He is a general out there offensively but also very competitive defensively.”

• “No one has been more important to their team on the back end. Does it at both ends of the ice.”

The second headline was just one vote going to Fox, the Norris…

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Read More: LeBrun: Polling NHL coaches on who they think should win the Norris Trophy 2023-03-17 12:19:40

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