Anton Volchenkov of the Ottawa Senators is a defenseman, and the Norris Trophy is the award given to the best player at his position. If Volchenkov had to chose the winner among 2010 finalists Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings, Mike Green of the Washington Capitals and Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks, who gets his vote?
“Doughty is a really good player. I think this year he played really well. He’s a young guy, but he is such a talented defenseman. He’s had a great year,” Volchenkov told Puck Daddy in an exclusive interview this week.
“Green? He’s like a fourth forward when he’s out there for Washington. I don’t see him playing that seriously defensively, but offensively he is of a lot of benefit.”
That’s expected from Volchenkov, whose reputation is that of a “defensive” defenseman. He averaged 2.69 blocked shots per game this season, finishing in the NHL’s top 10 in that category once again, while scoring only 14 points in 64 games this season. But his defensive abilities have made him one of the most interesting names on the unrestricted free agent market, after having just a $2.5 million cap hit for the Senators last season.
We spoke with Volchenkov about his impending free agency, the chances he’ll return to Ottawa, why the Senators lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round, the Dany Heatley(notes) trade to the San Jose Sharks in hindsight, his offensive game and his Stanley Cup pick … along with what he’s driving and listening to these days.
Q. Now that the season is over for the Ottawa Senators, what is your assessment of it?
VOLCHENKOV: Of course we didn’t do well in the playoffs. That’s the main point. But at the same time we did make the playoffs to begin with, which means it was an OK season. This season was really tough because of the Olympics. It was especially hard because of the game against Canada. [Russia] really did not play well in that game. We simply burned out. But otherwise it was a good season.