John Carlson Now -500 Favorite to Win Norris Trophy

  • BetOnline has the Capitals’ John Carlson (-500) as the overwhelming favorite to win the Norris Trophy
  • Dougie Hamilton (+400) and Roman Josi (+600) are surprise contenders after stellar starts to the year
  • Calder-favorite Cale Makar (+800) is also making a case to be named the league’s top defenseman

As surprising as the players who are in contention for this year’s Norris Trophy are the defencemen who have already fallen out of the race.

Listed as a +450 favorite before the season, 2017’s top blueliner Brent Burns has played his way off the board with only 21 points and a minus-20 rating through 32 games. Norris-winning Swedes Erik Karlsson (2012, 2015) and Victor Hedman (2018) have also dropped from +600 to +3300 and +650 to +2000, respectively.

And last year’s winner, Mark Giordano, is nowhere to be found, reverting back to his half-point-per-game career pace after a 73-point outlier campaign in 2018/19.

So, who are the favorites for the award? Let’s check the latest odds at BetOnline.


Player Current Odds Trending Before Season
John Carlson -500 +1800
Dougie Hamilton +400 N/A
Roman Josi +600 +2500
Cale Makar +800 N/A
Keith Yandle +2000 N/A
Victor Hedman +2000 +650
Erik Karlsson +3300 +600


Here are the players who have notched more points than the Capitals’ soon-to-be 30-year-old this year: Leon Draisatl, Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand. That’s it. Named the NHL’s first star of the week after scoring six points from December 2-8, Carlson tops the league’s defensemen in goals (11), assists (32), points (43) and game-winning goals (4) through 32 games.

On pace to finish with 114 points, Carlson would be the first blueliner to reach 100 since Brian Leetch in 1991-92, and only the sixth defenseman in NHL history to accomplish the milestone, joining Bobby Orr (six times), Paul Coffey (five times), Denis Potvin, Al MacInnis, and the aforementioned Rangers legend.

Sitting eighth in the NHL in ice time per game (24:58) while playing in all situations for the league-leading Capitals, the 11-year veteran probably has a legitimate case to become the first defenseman to win the Hart Trophy since Chris Pronger in 2000, but let’s face it, that is not going to happen.

Instead, he will have to settle for becoming the first American to win the Norris since Leetch in 1996-97, a span of 23 seasons.


Shipped out of town by both the Bruins and Flames, 26-year-old Dougie Hamilton (+400) has found a home in Carolina. With 10 goals and 18 assists through 30 games, the Hurricanes D-man should easily surpass his 50-point career-high, but there’s no way he’s catching Carlson.

Similarly, Roman Josi (+600) is on pace to top his 61-point career year after signing a massive eight-year, $72.4M contract extension in October. While the 29-year-old Swiss star has surged from +2500 to +600 over the season’s first two months, his Predators will be lucky to make the playoffs.

With his odds to win Calder Trophy skyrocketing, Cale Makar (+800) probably has the best hope of stealing Norris votes away from Carlson, if only because the Avalanche rookie is putting up historic numbers for one of the NHL’s best teams.

However, we wouldn’t advise betting against Carlson. Even if his production slows down over the second half, the Capitals’ blueliner is almost guaranteed to hit 80 points; something no defenceman has accomplished since Nicklas Lidstrom’s Norris Trophy-winning season in 2005-06.

Pick: John Carlson (-500)

Steve Starr

Steve is one of the many Americans who spends Sunday watching football on the couch and gorging on heart-clogging eats. He describes himself as a good father, great dog owner, and mediocre gambler and husband.

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