The NHL has started to release their award finalists, this time announcing the three nominees for the Norris Trophy. The award is given out to the top defenseman “who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.” Last year’s winner was Adam Fox of the New York Rangers, but he won’t be defending his title this time around.
This year’s finalists are Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators, Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche, and Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Josi, winner of the award in 2020, nearly reached an unfathomable offensive level this season when he scored 23 goals and 96 points for the Predators. He became the highest-scoring defenseman in nearly three decades and joined a group of Hall of Fame defensemen with at least 96 points in a single season. Only Bobby Orr, Paul Coffey, Al MacInnis, Brian Leetch, Denis Potvin, Phil Housley, and Ray Bourque have ever reached those heights previously, nearly a Mount Rushmore of offensive NHL defensemen. It is the second time he has been named a finalist, following his win two years ago.
Makar, still just 23 years old, has now been a finalist in back-to-back seasons after finishing second in voting last year. The Avalanche phenom led all defensemen with 28 goals and racked up 86 points, pushing his career total just over a point-per-game through three seasons. It’s hard to fathom the ceiling for the 2017 fourth-overall pick, who also took strides defensively this year and once again was one of the most valuable players in the league by many metrics. Makar averaged nearly 26 minutes a game and set highs in more traditional defensive statistics like +/- (+48), blocks (110), and hits (95).
Hedman is probably used to this by now, after being a finalist in each of the last five seasons previous. He won the award in 2018, a season that paled in comparison (at least offensively) to this year. The big Tampa Bay blueliner racked up his first 20-goal season and pied on a career-best 85 points, while playing in all 82 games for the first time in his 13-year career. Averaging more than 25 minutes a night in all situations, Hedman is carving out a career that will have him considered among the very best the game has ever produced when it is all said and done.
Tomorrow, the award announcements will continue with the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy.
Josi in a landslide
How could it be anyone but Josi?
Reverse Makar and Josi’s point totals and it’s still Josi over Makar.
Yeah, no brainer this year. He had an All Universe season
@forwhomjoshbelltolled—How could it be anyone else? I’ve been trying to think of the talking head who believes that it’s Makar. That guy is Marek (a couple of minutes ago); he said this last week, too, so it’s not just because of the announcement of the finalists. To him, Makar is clear-cut, too. Maybe it’s the ratio of Takeaways to Giveaways, who knows?
Maker was much better in regards to Giveaways, +/- and GWGs.
@Polish Hammer—Hence, Marek’s opinion of him, slightly over Josi. Unless, of course, Marek’s changed that “slightly” to “clearly”, but that’s his take, not necessarily shared by all, as the posters here will demonstrate.
And I’d go Makar as well considering the points are close and Makar is clearly ahead in those important categories.
Josi over Herman. Makar 3rd
Has to be Josi.
Bleh that Charlie McAvoy wasn’t named, but can’t fault the choices. Three studly guys having studly seasons.
Just look at this series between the Avs and Preds and tell me which of Makar and Josi is the one dominating the ice when they’re out there. It’s Makar.
I’d say Maker also has better talent surrounding him.
They’ve been without them for quite a few games that Makar has had to carry the Avs,
Sure, makar has better talent around him, but don’t forget that josi had duchene, forsberg having career years and a resurgence from Johanson. Not to mention a very very good year from saros. All of which contribute to his numbers.
I’m fine with josi winning, but I think it’s a toss up between all three, really.
Every time it says Cale Makar, 4th overall pick, three teams die a little inside.
Ok, Heiskanen is pretty effin good but still.
The Flyers scouting staff were begging Hextall to take him at 2. Hex wanted Patrick.