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NHL awards 2017: Brent Burns wins his first Norris Trophy

The San Jose Sharks blue liner is the league’s best defenseman.

Edmonton Oilers v San Jose Sharks - Game Six Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns was named the 2017 Norris Trophy winner at the NHL Awards show on Wednesday. This is the first time that Burns has won the award, a year after finishing third.

Burns ended the 2016-17 regular season with 29 goals and 47 assists to finish first among all NHL defensemen with 76 points. It’s the second straight 75-point season for the 32-year-old, who has established himself as arguably the top offensive defenseman in the league with San Jose.

In order to win his first Norris, Burns beat out fellow finalists Erik Karlsson and Victor Hedman. Karlsson, a two-time Norris winner, had another big year with 71 points in the regular season before leading the Senators to Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. Hedman had a career-year with 72 points in 79 games, although it wasn’t enough to get the injury-ravaged Lightning into the playoffs.

Burns was never a Norris contender throughout his 20s, which is part of what makes his emergence so remarkable. Spending time as a right winger explains part of it, but he’s hit a new level of productivity with the Sharks over the past two seasons. This season, that was enough to earn him his first Norris.

Here’s how the vote totals went down: