We’ve looked at the Hart and Vezina Trophies, now it’s time to move on to the defensemen. Adam Fox of the Rangers and Roman Josi of the Predators have crowned best blue liner the last two years. Will it be Cale Makar‘s year? Can Victor Hedman get back on top of the voting?
Today, it’s the Norris Trophy, which is awarded to the “defenseman who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.” This award is voted own annually by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
TOTAL BALLOTS (Points allocation: 10-7-5 for 1st-2nd-3rd)
1. Cale Makar, Avalanche – 42 (30-7-5)
2. Victor Hedman, Lightning – 27 (10-7-10)
3. Adam Fox, Rangers – 17 (10-7-0)
Roman Josi, Predators – 12 (0-7-5)
Aaron Ekblad, Panthers – 12 (0-7-5)
Michael Finewax, NBC Sports Edge Senior Hockey Writer/Editor
1. Cale Makar, Avalanche
2. Roman Josi, Predators
3. Victor Hedman, Lightning
Jake Abrahams, Managing Editor, NHL content
1. Cale Makar, Avalanche
2. Victor Hedman, Lightning
3. Roman Josi, Predators
Even if Makar ends up being behind one or two players in the major statistical/analytical categories, I still think he should win the Norris. Like the Vezina, this is an eye test thing for me. No one plays the position the way Makar does. Barring injury or a significant dip in play relative to the other contenders in the 2nd half, Makar has my vote.
Sean Leahy, NHL writer
1. Victor Hedman, Lightning
2. Aaron Ekblad, Panthers
3. Cale Makar, Avalanche
Hedman is tied with Adam Fox in points among blue liner with 44. No other defenseman has more even strength points (29) than the Tampa Bay veteran. He’s also second in expected goals for percentage (58.09) among defenseman with at least 650 minutes at 5-on-5, per Natural Stat Trick.
James O’Brien, NHL writer
Once again, the Norris voting (for me) comes down to Fox vs. Makar; once again, injuries dilute Makar’s accomplishments just enough to get Fox the edge. They’re both very special, and it says a lot about the cream of the defensive crop that someone like Ekblad, Roman Josi, or Victor Hedman could easily snatch the Norris depending upon how this season plays out.
Adam Gretz, NHL writer
Makar and Fox are going to be fighting for this award for years it seems. Fox won it a year ago (rightfully so) but I am not sure how you can ignore what Makar is doing this season. He might already be a top-five player in the entire NHL. Hedman is one of the best of his era at this position and he is still a dominant player on the Lightning blue line and one of the two or three most important players on the most successful team in the league. He is still Norris caliber. But the young guys are starting pass him because they are so good.