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The Fat Lady is Singing Brent Burns' Name in the Norris Race

Although there are still about 20 games left to play, the Norris Trophy race is over. Brent Burns is clearly the best defenseman this season and it's not close. He's even getting some recognition in the Hart Trophy conversation and if the Sharks star was to win it, he would become the first blue-liner to claim the NHL's MVP trophy since Chris Pronger did it 17 years ago.

Bovada has pegged him as the enormous -1500 favorite, meaning it's highly unlikely anyone knocks him off the pedestal on which he currently resides and the fat lady, also known as Gary Bettman, can start warming up her vocal cords. 

So what is Burns doing to earn such high praise and major award consideration? Well, for starters, he has 27 goals to go along with his 39 assists, is a +23 and is averaging almost 25 minutes of ice time a game. His offensive numbers rival those of the best forwards in the league and he does it without abandoning his post at the defensive end. He has more power-play points than NHL points leader Connor McDavid and is also tied for first with Drew Doughty and Ryan Suter with 4.57 defensive point shares apiece.

Doughty won the award in 2015-16 based largely on his impressive defensive point shares number so if Burns continues to take care of his duties in front of Martin Jones, there's no reason to deny him the Norris honors.

If Burns doesn't win the Norris this year, there is something fundamentally wrong with the way we decide who wins awards. He is beard and shoulders above anyone else on the list and Erik Karlsson, who's second in the odds at +900, finished runner-up to Doughty in Norris voting last year and he had a much better season than he's having this season.

Another factor that should not be ignored is how awesome a guy Burns is. The dude is a shining beacon of entertainment in a league that tends to lack personality. Why the NHL is not promoting the hell out of this guy is beyond me.

Here’s the complete list of Norris Trophy odds:

2016-17 Norris Trophy Winner
PlayerOdds
Brent Burns (SJ)-1500
Erik Karlsson (OTT)+900
Victor Hedman (TB)+1200
Ryan Suter (MIN)+2000
Kevin Shattenkirk (WSH) +2000
Shea Weber (MTL)+2500

Odds as of March 2 at Bovada

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One of the most controversial moves during the NHL offseason was the trade that sent P.K. Subban to Nashville and Shea Weber north of the border to Montreal. Critics hounded Marc Bergevin and the Canadiens’ front office for the move but with the Habs beginning their season 9-0-1 and Weber being a league-best +14, the criticism is starting to quiet.

The odds have been updated for Norris Trophy futures and Weber has climbed the board and now sits directly behind Erik Karlsson at +325. The Habs blue-line bomber not only leads all players in plus/minus, he also sits third in points for defensemen with 10 and has already pounded in four goals – three of them on the power play.

P.K., on the other hand, is -7 through 10 games and is shooting an awful 8.3 percent. His team sits dead last in the Central Division with just three wins and has been struggling significantly to put the puck in the net. I still think the Predators are a good team and Subban is – obviously – a good player. Bovada is offering a +1400 line for P.K. to win the Norris but I think you can avoid this one – Subban is too much of a risk/reward player to ever post the stellar defensive numbers required of a Norris winner.

Weber’s plus/minus and other defensive numbers will be boosted astronomically by playing in front of Carey Price this year and if the Canadiens keep winning, the big blue-liner is an absolute shoo-in to take this award even if he does not continue to keep pace with Brent Burns and Karlsson in the points race.

Drew Doughty won the Norris last year despite posting 31 fewer points than Karlsson, who received the second-most votes. He did, however, pace the league in defensive point shares – a stat Weber currently leads the NHL in.

Click here for Calder Trophy odds.

Click here for Hart Trophy odds.

Click here for Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy odds.

Click here for Vezina Trophy odds.

Here’s the complete list of Norris Trophy odds:

2016-17 Norris Trophy Winner
PlayerOdds
Erik Karlsson (OTT)+300
Shea Weber (MON)+325
Brent Burns (SJ)+375
Ryan Suter (MIN)+600
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (PHO)+750
Victor Hedman (TB)+1000
Drew Doughty (LA)+1000
PK Subban (NSH)+1400

Odds as of November 4 at Bovada

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