With the end of the season right around the corner and teams gearing up, the finalist for awards become clear. When looking at the different hardware the NHL hands out for all different types of season statistics, the Hart Trophy for league MVP, Norris for the top defenseman, and Vezina for the top goaltender are the most notable. While many were favorites throughout the season, some players had a strong second half to separate themselves from the pack.
The qualifications have shifted over the years to win the Norris Trophy as the winner is usually the defenseman that records the most points. At the same time, the top defenseman known for shutting down the best players on the ice and having the best defensive metrics is left behind.
With this new narrative arising, the question has risen should there be a new trophy? The answer is yes, there should be a new trophy that recognizes the defenseman with the highest point total, and that trophy should be the Bobby Orr Trophy.
Bobby Orr single handily changed hockey with his style of play and how people view a defenseman. For many years, a defenseman was thought of as a guy who stays home and focuses on hitting, shot-blocking, and fighting. Bobby Orr ushered in the puck-moving, goal-scoring style of play.
Orr finished his career with 270 goals and 645 assists for 915 points across 657 games. Orr especially shined on the power play for Boston as he scored 76 power-play goals and 324 power-play points. What also made Orr so special was the fact he had six straight 100-plus point seasons, with his career-high being 139 points and crossing the 120-point mark four times. His career-high of 46 goals is more than current Bruins Patrice Bergeron (32) and Brad Marchand (39) career highs, showing how special Orr truly was.
There was nothing Orr couldn’t do as he led the Bruins to Stanley Cup Championship wins in 1969-1970 and 1971-1972. Orr is the king of the Norris Trophy, as he won eight straight to go along with his two Art Ross Trophies, three Hart Memorial Trophies, and two Conn Smythe Trophies.
With the advanced analytics the NHL has available today, there is no reason why there shouldn’t be two separate trophies for a defenseman. The Norris Trophy should remain and be awarded to the defenseman who best exemplifies the defensive side of the ice, and introduce the Bobby Orr Trophy for the defenseman who leads the league in points.
With the rise of defensemen like Cale Makar, Roman Josi, Adam Fox, Victor Hedman, and Charlie McAvoy, among countless others, the need for a Bobby Orr Trophy is needed. This season has seen the new age of defensemen continue the trend as Josi (89), Makar (84), Hedman (75), and Fox (72) lead defensemen in points. With five games remaining, it’s unlikely we will see a defenseman reach the 100-point mark. Still, a defenseman reaching the 90-point mark is something special, considering that’s higher than the majority of forwards in the league.