Norris Trophy Power Rankings: Letang seeking 1st top D-man honor

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With some of the league's top defensemen off to slow starts, the Norris Trophy race is wide open to begin the season.

ATOI = Average time on ice
SCF% = Percentage of scoring chances generated while player was on the ice at 5-on-5
HDCF% = Percentage of high-danger scoring chances generated while player was on the ice at 5-on-5

5. Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets

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GP G A P ATOI SCF% HDCF%
11 2 6 8 24:09 53.29 50.68

Zach Werenski is showing he wasn't just riding the coattails of Seth Jones for the last two years. With Jones missing the first seven games of the season, Werenski is proving he can anchor his pairing. The 21-year-old has made huge strides at both ends of the ice while continuing to develop into one of the league's best blue-liners.

4. John Carlson, Washington Capitals

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GP G A P ATOI SCF% HDCF%
10 5 9 14 26:00 52.6% 47.3

John Carlson still isn't a shutdown defenseman, but there's no arguing he's the league's best power-play quarterback. Eight of his 14 points this year have come with the man advantage, and while having Alex Ovechkin to his left certainly helps, Carlson's production isn't merely a by-product of sharing the ice with The Great Eight.

3. P.K. Subban, Nashville Predators

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GP G A P ATOI SCF% HDCF%
12 2 8 10 23:44 56.91 57.35

P.K. Subban has arguably been the best defenseman on the league's best back end, and on the NHL's best team. In the early going of the season, he's driving offense at a better rate than his entire career, playing shutdown defense, and cutting down on turnovers.

2. Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks

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GP G A P ATOI SCF% HDCF%
12 3 12 15 24:25 56.76 51.04

While Erik Karlsson has taken some time settling into his new surroundings, Brent Burns has not only been the Sharks' most effective defenseman, but also the team's best player overall. The 2017 Norris Trophy winner is riding a nine-game point streak after being held off the scoresheet in the team's first three contests.

1. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins

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GP G A P ATOI SCF% HDCF%
9 4 7 11 25:33 56.0% 59.2%

It's quite astounding that throughout Kris Letang's storied career he's only been a Norris Trophy finalist once. But he may be playing his best hockey early in the 2018-19 season and proving to be a force at both ends of the ice. Letang's importance to the Penguins was on full display Tuesday night, as the club fell 6-3 to the Islanders at home without its top defenseman in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.

Honorable mentions: John Klingberg, Morgan Rielly, Ryan Suter, Drew Doughty, Thomas Chabot

(Advanced stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick)

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Norris Trophy Power Rankings: Letang seeking 1st top D-man honor
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