The 2008 Rod Langway Award
Who has been the best defensive defenceman in the league this season?
I've ran a few posts over the past two seasons about the Rod Langway Award, a fictional honour that uses only statistics (courtesy of Behind The Net) to determine which blueliners have been the best in their own zone.
And the man in top spot at the end of this season comes as a bit of a surprise.
The qualifications include three things (a) playing big minutes at even strength and on the penalty kill, (b) facing difficult competition and (c) having few goals against at even strength and while shorthanded.
Here's this year's final list:
Two old-timers, right at the top.
Foote and Lidstrom essentially ended in a tie, although a photo finish gave it to the former Blue Jackets captain based on his top-notch penalty killing numbers. I honestly haven't seen a ton of Foote's play so far in Colorado, but it hasn't affected his numbers.
Nick Schultz, Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer are three guys who have consistently finished near the top of this list. And this is about the only place Derek Morris was getting recognized this season (outside of Phoenix).
As for new entries, how about Sergei Gonchar, whose defensive play has been talked about a lot in Pittsburgh this season. The Penguins have relied on him to face top opposition and kill penalties, surprising given his history.
Duncan Keith's another player worth mentioning. A terrific season for the 'Hawks youngster.
Tallinder, meanwhile, was leading the pack in mid-February but really fell off course, something Sabres fans can attest to given the team's struggles down the stretch. Phillips and Volchenkov were two others who started high up and fell as the season progressed.
What do others think: A good list?