Norris Trophy: Hedman, Josi, Makar are 2021-22 finalists

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Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators, and Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche have been voted finalists for the 2021-22 Norris Trophy. The award is given to league’s top defenseman “who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.”

The Norris Trophy is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association at the end of the regular season.

New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox won the award last season.

The 2021-22 NHL Award winners will be revealed during the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final.

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 First Round schedule, TV info]

The case for Victor Hedman: Hedman finished third in regular-season scoring among defensemen (85 points) and third in goals scored by blue liners (20), both are career highs. After playing all 82 games for the Lightning, the 31-year-old was second in the NHL in total ice time (2,056:12). Forty-seven of his 85 points came at even strength; he posted a 54.94% expected goals for percentage, and had a .915 on-ice save percentage at 5-on-5, via Natural Stat Trick. This is the sixth consecutive season Hedman is a Norris finalist. He’s finished third in four of the last five seasons and won the award in 2017-18.

The case for Roman Josi: No NHL defenseman has scored like Josi, who won the award in 2019-20, did during the regular season since Phil Housley in 1992-93. The Predators blue liner scored 23 goals and recorded 96 points putting him in a class with Housley, Paul Coffey, Brian Leetch, Al MacInnis, Bobby Orr, and Denis Potvin as defensemen who reached at least 96 points. He had a .924 on-ice save percentage at 5-on-5, posted a 51.59 expected goals for percentage, and led all defensemen with 59 even strength points.

The case for Cale Makar: Makar was behind Josi points (86) by a defenseman but led all blue liners with 28 goals. Only four other defenseman (Brent Burns, Mike Green, Al MacInnis, Kevin Hatcher) have scored at least 28 goals in the last 30 years. He finished top 10 in unblocked shot attempts (55.27%); third in expected goals for percentage (57.05); and top 10 in on-ice save percentage at 5-on-5 (.934). A second-time Norris finalist, he could be the franchise’s first winner after Rob Blake, Ray Bourque, and Sandis Ozolinsh all finished in the top three.

Finalists for the 2021-22 Vezina Trophy, which is voted on by the NHL’s 32 general managers, will be announced on Tuesday.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.