According to Minnesota Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo, he considers his top defensive pairing of Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin as standing a very real chance of winning both the Norris and Calder trophies as best defenseman and rookie of the year, respectively.
“To me, they’re tap-ins,” said Minnesota’s second-year Head Coach. “It’s automatic, and I could add a couple other guys for lists for awards.” This the first time since Jacques Lemaire won the Jack Adams in 2003 that Minnesota has had a chance to have players in the running for multiple awards. The team has especially been campaigning for Suter and Brodin. There is even talk about Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu for the Selke, while Matt Cullen and Jared Spurgeon could get the nod for Lady Byng.
While Yeo is quick to point out the accomplishments of the players in his system, he also knows all other awards fall short of the Stanley Cup. “I’d prefer once the season is over to talk about this because right now the only award that anybody wants is the team one,” he continued. “We have an opportunity to get ourselves into the playoffs tonight and again, it’s an exciting day.”
Suter stands a very real chance of winning the Norris, and will be competing against Montreal’s P.K. Subban and Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang for the honor of the NHL’s best defenseman. His 32 points and 28 assists in 46 games are third-best and second-best, respectively, amongst all NHL defensemen and he leads all skaters in ice time with an average of 27:13 per game.
It will be a harder road for Brodin than Suter, as the Calder Trophy is rarely won by defensemen. For more on Brodin’s candidacy for the Calder, click here.
Minnesota is on the brink of clinching their first playoff berth in five years; they would not be there without their All-Star caliber top defensive pairing. It’s time the NHL acknowledges that.