Sharks defenseman Brent Burns is a finalist for the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the NHL's best defenseman for the second straight season, the league announced on Friday.
After finishing first among NHL defensemen in the regular season with 29 goals and 76 points, and leading the league with 320 shots, Burns is thought to be the frontrunner ahead of Victor Hedman and Erik Karlsson.
Burns, 32, became just the second NHL defenseman to lead his team in goals (29, tied with Joe Pavelski), assists (47) and points, joining Kevin Hatcher (1990-91, Washington Capitals). Burns' 29 goals were the most by an NHL defenseman since Mike Green had 31 for Washington in 2008-09. Burns played in all 82 games, posting a plus-19 rating with 40 penalty minutes.
Although Burns' production dipped over the final few weeks of the regular season, an anonymous poll among voters conducted on March 29-30 by NBC Sports California still indicated Burns was still the heavy favorite and Karlsson as his main competition. Karlsson finished the season with 71 points, while Hedman had 72.
Also named as the Sharks Fan Favorite this season, Burns signed an eight-year, $64 million contract extension with the club on Nov. 22, 2016 that kicks in next season. The deal keeps him with the organization potentially through the 2024-25 season.
Last year, Burns finished third for the Norris behind winner Drew Doughty of Los Angeles, and Karlsson, a two-time recipient. The NHL Awards take place in Las Vegas on June 21.