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Sharks’ Burns takes home James Norris Memorial Trophy as NHL’s top defenseman

 

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Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks has won the James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded to the defenseman demonstrating “the greatest all-around ability in the position,” as selected by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

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Burns was the only player receiving votes on all 167 ballots and attracted 96 first-place votes for 1,437 voting points, enough to edge two-time Norris Trophy recipient Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators (1,292 points), who finished second in the voting for the second consecutive year.

Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning was third (728) in his first year as a finalist.

Burns set franchise records for goals and points by a defenseman for the second consecutive season, posting 29-47–76 to top all NHL blueliners in scoring. He became the first defenseman to record back-to-back 75-point seasons since Brian Leetch achieved the feat with the New York Rangers in 1995-96 and 1996-97.

Burns’ 29 goals were 12 more than any other League defenseman and his 21 even-strength tallies were the most by an NHL defender since the Sharks’ Sandis Ozolinsh had 22 in 1993-94. His 320 shots on goal – the most among all skaters – was 33 percent more than the No. 2-ranked blueliner (Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien, 241).