Mid-Season Winner: Pelech (51.6%)
End of Year Winner: Pelech (74.2%)
I love this. God do I love this. To most fan bases the Norris Trophy goes to the defenseman with the most points. And that makes sense, that’s how the actual award is typically decided. But why do we always give the defenseman who has the largest offensive impact the best defenseman award?
Don’t get me wrong, production matters and should matter in this vote, but it shouldn’t be the criteria for the award. A defenseman’s ability to shut down opponents in the defensive end matters too.
That’s where Adam Pelech fits in. He’ll never put up the type of production that will win him a Norris Trophy someday. He’s just not that type of defenseman. But he’s elite when it comes to shutting down opponents. What he does on the ice (that isn’t captured on the scoresheet) is, again, elite.
That’s why Islanders fans give him the Norris. But honestly, I’m surprised he ran away with the vote the way he did.
In the first half, Pelech had just over 50% of the vote. Defensive partner Ryan Pulock had 31.7% of the vote. But with the season over, Pelech pulled away what was effectively half of Pulock’s vote share.
And look, Pulock seems like the easier player to vote for. His 17 points is second on the team for defensemen, and he’s also nearly as good as Pelech on the defensive side of the game. He’s more balanced than Pelech.
But this is why I love this vote from the fans, they recognize that without Pelech the Islander aren’t the same team anymore. That’s how they absolutely tanked in the second half of 2019-20.