I've long wondered why the NHL doesn't have a unique award for the defenseman who scores the most points in a season.
- Honors the best offensive defender in the league. A perfect corollary to the Selke Award, which honors the best defensive foward.
- Unlike the Selke, it's not a subjective award. He who gets the most points wins.
- There's precedent for creating new awards. The Rocket Richard was introduced in 1999. The trophy was donated by the Montreal Canadiens to the NHL. Are you listening, Boston?
- There are already three awards almost exclusively for forwards: The Art Ross, Rocket Richard, and Selke. Yes, it is technically possible for a defenseman to win the Art Ross or the Rocket Richard. But that has only happened twice in NHL history, both times by Bobby Orr.
- Perhaps more importantly, it would reestablish the Norris Trophy as the award for the best all around defender. That's not to say that offensive defenders would be shut out from Norris voting, but that voters wouldn't feel as thought they must vote for the points leader. The greatest of defensemen will win both... as well they should.
- It's fun!
- Those rare occasions where a d-man plays a significant number of games at forward. This could be mitigated by a simple stipulation that requires a player to start a certain percentage (80?) of the season's games on defense.
- It's a stretch, but one could argue that certain defensemen would neglect defensive assignments in pursuit of the award. It's a stretch, and one could say the same for any forward in the Art Ross/Rocket Richard race, but I thought I'd mention it anyways. It's not a serious concern.
- It's fun! (may trigger a histamine response at NHL Head Office).
My hope would be that if popular, a hockey writer might publish a column with this suggestion, and perhaps it will gain momentum. In particular, it would be apt for the Boston Bruins to donate the 'Bobby Orr Trophy' to the NHL. It's long past time for the NHL to acknowledge the offensive production of defensemen in their own category. Let's get on this, people.