Monday, April 11, 2011

Lubo! The NHL's Top D-Man for 2010-2011?

The James Norris Memorial Trophy is an annual award given to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association at the end of the regular season. Chicago Blackhawks Defenseman Duncan Keith won the trophy last year.

This year, Lubomir Visnovsky looks like the top candidate, and we'll know soon. In the mean time, here's what he's done this year:

·In 2010-11, Lubomir Visnovsky led all NHL defensemen in scoring (68), assists (50) and points-per-game (.84). He also ranked second among defensemen in goals (18), tied for second in overtime goals (2) and third in game-winning goals (4). He is the second player in club history to lead all NHL defensemen in scoring (Scott Niedermayer did so in 2006-07).

·With an assist on Apr. 9 at Los Angeles, Visnovsky established a new career high for points in a season with 18-50=58 (he scored 17-50=67 in 2005-06 with Los Angeles). He matched his career high in goals on Apr. 4 vs. Dallas (18 - also 2006-07 with Los Angeles) and matched his career best in assists on Apr. 9 at Los Angeles (had 50 in 2005-06). In addition, Visnovsky’s +18 rating set a career best (finished the 2000-01 season a +16 with Los Angeles).

·Visnovsky set a new club record for goals by a defenseman in a single season with his 17th on Apr. 2 @ SJ (previous record was 16 by Fredrik Olausson in 1998-99). His 68 points in 2010-11 were one point shy of Scott Niedermayer’s franchise record for points by a defenseman in a single campaign (15-54=69 in 2006-07).

·Visnovsky completed the 2010-11 season with points in six of his last seven games (3-4=7), nine of 11 (4-7=11, +9) and 13 of 16 (6-11=17, +13).

* He became the first defenseman in Ducks history to record a hat trick on Mar. 4 vs. Dallas. He also scored the OT goal (second of the season, third career) with just 3.8 seconds left in the extra frame in the 4-3 win. Visnovsky’s 3-1=4 points that night were a career high and his hat trick marked the second of his career (also Nov. 2, 2005 with Los Angeles at Dallas). He was one of five NHL defensemen to score a hat trick this season (also Nicklas Lidstrom of Detroit, Zdeno Chara of Boston, P.K. Subban of Montreal and Ed Jovanovski of Phoenix).

* In March, Visnovsky earned 7-11=18 points with a +13 rating. He led all defensemen in goals and points. He also co-led all NHL players in plus/minus (Marc-Edouard Vlasic of San Jose was also +13).

* Visnovsky set a career high and tied the club record with a +5 rating in a 5-2 Ducks win, Mar. 9 vs. NYR.

* He had five goals over three games (5-2=7, +6 rating) from Mar. 4-9, becoming the first Ducks defenseman all-time to accomplish the feat.

Thanks to the Anaheim Ducks media relations department for the stats.

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