Does Drew Doughty Deserve the Norris Trophy for 2014-2015 Performance?


Los Angeles Kings defensemen Drew Doughty had a great season.

Doughty truly played his heart out for the Kings, and it was visible to see on the ice.

One big question on the mind of Kings fans: was Doughty’s performance good enough to earn him the title of the NHL’s best defensemen?

The Norris Trophy is the NHL award for the best all-around defensemen in the game.

The Norris Trophy has been awarded every year since 1954, with the exception of the 2004-2005 NHL lockout season.

Doughty was a top-three finalist for the Norris for the 2009-2010 season; only his second year in the NHL.  Doughty finished as the runner-up to Chicago Blackhawks defensemen Duncan Keith, who won his first Norris that year.

At the halfway point of the season many, including Corey Masisak of, thought that Doughty was the front-runner for best defensemen.

Now that the season has come to an end, let’s take another look.

Doughty finished the 2014-2015 season with 46 points in 82 games, putting him at 5th on the Kings in points.  Doughty didn’t miss a game for the Kings, fighting through bruises, beatings and even after losing a tooth a high-strick from an unidentified Blackhawk skater.

Los Angeles Kings
Los Angeles Kings /

Los Angeles Kings

Doughty finished 2nd in the NHL among all skaters for average time on the ice per game (TOI/GP) with 28:59.  The only player ahead of Doughty?  Minnesota Wild defensemen Ryan Suter, with 29:03 TOI/GP.  Suter has held that distinction of most TOI/GP for the last two seasons.

Amongst all NHL defensemen Doughty finished 14th in points, 55th in goals, tie for 12th in assists (at St. Louis Blues’ Alex Pietrangelo with 39), tie for 96th in plus/minus, and tie for 15th with 17 power-play points.

There’s more to it than numbers.  Though numbers are a big part of the decision.  It’s about how the skill of the player, and how they step up and support their team.

A big part of the title best defensemen is something that can’t be quantified.  How difficult is it to get around the player in question?  How often does he actually get beat?  What is the caliber of the player that gets passed this defensemen?

It’s been known from the moment that he stepped onto NHL ice that Drew Doughty is one of the best in the world.  Doughty’s 25-years-old and has two Stanley Cup rings and two Olympic Gold Medals.  That resume speaks for itself.

However there will be other candidates . . .

Ottawa Senators defensemen Erik Karlsson led the NHL in points among all defensemen.  Karlsson led his team in points with 21 goals and 66 points in 82 games.  Karlsson also captained the Senators to a last game playoff berth, after finishing the season 25-4-4.

Calgary Flames defensemen Mark Giordano jumped in front of Doughty after the halfway point, but ended his season early after tearing his bicep.  Giordano finished with 11 goals, 48 points, and a +13 rating in 62 games this season.

Another captain of his crew, and fellow Canadian, Shea Weber will likely be a finalist for the Norris.  Weber finished 17th in points for NHL defensemen, and 4th for skaters on his team.  In 78 games this season Weber netted 15 goals, 45 points, and registered a +15 plus/minus with 5 power-play goals.

Weber, like Doughty, has yet to win the Norris despite being one of the league’s widely regarded top defensemen.

Montreal Canadiens defensemen P.K. Subban finished tie for 2nd in points for NHL defensemen with 60 in 82 games.  Subban scored 15 goals for the Canadiens this season, finishing 3rd in points and 1st in power-play goals with 8.

Subban won the award in 2013 for his work during the 2012-2013 shortened season.  At 25-years-of-age Subban is the premier defender on one of the leagues best defensive teams.

So does Drew Doughty deserve the Norris for his work this season? Or should it go to one of these other great NHL defensemen.

Mar 28, 2015; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty (8) skates with the puck in the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Minnesota Wild beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports