- Cale Makar (-140) is the favorite to win the 2022 James Norris Memorial Trophy
- Victor Hedman (+375) will likely earn his sixth-straight nomination for the NHL’s best defenseman award
- Both Adam Fox (+500) and Roman Josi (+1000) are in contention to claim the honor for the second time in three seasons
This season’s list of Norris Trophy finalists will likely mirror last year’s with Cale Makar, Victor Hedman and Adam Fox all putting together worthy campaigns.
Makar leads all NHL blueliners in points per game (1.11) and goals (18) but the Avalanche defender hasn’t found the back of the net since January – that could open the door for last year’s winner, Fox, or Hedman to be honored for the second-time in their respective careers.
2022 James Norris Trophy
Is Cale Makar a lock?
A few weeks back, Cale Makar (-140) was on pace for 37 goals – the most since Paul Coffey’s 37 in 1984-85 – but he hasn’t scored in his last seven games. The 23-year-old could still run away with the award if he becomes the first defenseman to notch at least 30 goals since Mike Green in 2008-09, but he’s no Norris lock if his scoring drought continues.
While the Avs blueliner is an electrifying skater who’s equally adept at shutting down opposing lines (+32 plus-minus), both Victor Hedman (+375) and Adam Fox (+500) provide stiff competition.
If you’re a Norris Trophy voter, Emma Freimark would like to have a quick word about Cale Makar.https://t.co/7pGgfRGmAX
— Denver Post – Avs (@avsnews) February 20, 2022
The case for Victor Hedman
Victor Hedman (+375) won the Norris Trophy in 2018 but he’s become the “Susan Lucci of the NHL” since with three-straight nominations without a victory.
The 31-year-old Swede is currently tied with Makar with 50 points while playing the same lockdown defense that earned his Lightning consecutive Stanley Cups, and himself a 2020 Conn Smythe for being the most valuable player in the postseason.
The past two Norris winners
Leading all D-men with 41 assists, Adam Fox (+500) has already surpassed his career-high with 48 points in 46 games. Analytics played a huge part in the 23-year-old’s Norris triumph last year, but it’s hard to imagine Fox besting Makar again if he finishes with 10 fewer goals and more than 20 behind in plus-minus, as he is now.
Roman Josi is at +1000 despite winning the award in 2020 and leading all defensemen with 51 points this season. Aaron Ekblad (+1500) has been equally impressive for Florida, already hitting a career-high in points (45) while helping the Eastern-Conference-leading Panthers dominate puck possession while he’s on the ice.
Five straight goals from the @TBLightning to erase a two-goal deficit and Victor Hedman has become the first defenseman to reach the 50-point mark this season. #NHLStats: https://t.co/WJpXCLAP8u pic.twitter.com/PLocmdukJm
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 16, 2022
Cale Makar will absolutely win the Norris if he reaches 30 goals, however, a -140 bet is not nearly as safe as the odds suggest with nine weeks left in the season.
We recommended hedging with Hedman at +375. If he secures his sixth-straight nomination, voters should recognize the Bolts blueliner for being the most dominant defender in the league. Otherwise, history will not be kind.
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