Norris Trophy Candidate: Roman Polak
NHLHS writer Laura Astorian takes a look at the season Blues defenseman Roman Polak has had and why he could be considered a Norris Trophy candidate.
Roman Polak is neither Italian nor Polish. Discuss.
He might not be either, but this 6’1″ Czech Olympian has emerged as the St. Louis Blues’ top defensive defenseman. With 21 points on the year (4G, 17A), he’s offensively solid, though not a powerhouse. His +7 is second on the team behind the Blues other solid defenseman Mike Weaver and his +9. When you consider that the Blues are near the bottom of the league in GF, a +7 is better than average.
Always willing to place himself in the line of fire, though hesitant to take a penalty (only 59 minutes for the year) Polak is a bane in scorer’s sides. Best known for last season’s hit on Marian Hossa that took him out of the game for a couple of weeks, and some individuals saw as unclean, Polak is not a dirty hitter by nature. He will, though, give a hard check when needed, and the oppositions’ players do tend to stay clear once they’ve learned that he is practically fearless – he has 138 hits for the year, and is built like a house. People move.
Named one of the Blues’ core players by press members who cover the team, Polak’s becoming an untouchable asset. Signed for this upcoming season at $1,200,000 and an RFA afterwards, he’s primed to be locked in for a long term deal. Any player who can work hard and raise his +/- from a -15 to a +7 while having his TOI decrease about 2 minutes between last season and this season is a hard worker.
Polak flies under the radar outside of St. Louis. A quick search for him on Google News doesn’t dig up many articles that sing his praises outside of the metro area, if any. He probably won’t be nominated for the Norris, let alone win it – nor will the league and the journalists who follow hockey give the lumbering defenseman his due. But as a key member of the league’s best penalty killing team, Polak deserves it.
At the very least, he deserves recognition for the greatest Twitter account of all time, even if its authenticity is questionable.
NHLHS St. Louis Blues/Atlanta Thrashers Correspondant