Preds captain Shea Weber named Norris Trophy finalist…

Shea Weber (Sarah Fuqua) Norris 3

First, David Poile. Next, Pekka Rinne. Now, Shea Weber.

The Nashville Predators will be well represented in Las Vegas come June.

The Preds captain is nominated for the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman. His fellow finalists are Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins and Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators.

Chara, the captain of the Bruins, took third in last season’s voting but gladly accepted the Stanley Cup instead. Karlsson, a second year player for the Sens, had a whale of a season. His 78 points led the league in scoring among defensemen and was even 25 points ahead of the next closest blueliner Dustin Byfuglien.

Karlsson is considered the front runner for the award based on a couple of factors. One, he plays for a Canadian team. Two, that Canadian team is in the East. Third, the award often goes to a defenseman who’s among the league leaders in scoring. 13-time all-star, three time Stanley Cup Champion and one of the best defensemen this sport has ever seen, Scott Stevens, never won a Norris Trophy as he was never considered an offensive threat.

“For the most part, it seems to go with the guy who’s got a lot of points,” Stevens told the New York Times back in 1998. “I don’t think about it as much as I used to. I’ve been asked to play a certain role here, which doesn’t help in that area. But I feel that gives the team a chance to win every night. That’s the satisfaction I get.”

Weber, on the other hand, is getting his fair share of pub. He was sixth among his position in scoring (49 points), he led his team by a wide margin in plus/minus (plus-21), was fifth in the NHL in ice time (26:09 avg.) and led all National Hockey League blueliners in power play goals (10). Not only that but he’s a smooth, steady force who can beat you with defense and offense.

Weber took second in the Norris voting last year, losing to his 2011 NHL All-Star Game defense partner, Nicklas Lidstrom.

PHOTO CREDIT: Sarah Fuqua // Flickr (used with permission)