- BetOnline lists Cale Makar as a +300 favorite to win the award for the NHL’s best defenseman
- Victor Hedman (+700) is overdue for his second-career Norris Trophy after being named the MVP of the Lightning’s Cup run last season
- Charlie McAvoy (+800) has the Bruins blue line to himself after the departures of Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug
While the Norris Trophy doesn’t automatically go to the blueliner with the most points, recent history suggests that you need to rack up a lot of goals and assists from the back end to be considered.
Last year’s winner Roman Josi finished second in points among NHL defensemen (10 behind the Capitals’ John Carlson for the league lead), putting up a career-best 65 points despite playing a shortened season. Flames rearguard Mark Gioradano also needed a career-high 74-point campaign in 2018-19 to claim the award.
So, who’s in the driver’s seat this year? Let’s check the latest Norris odds below. Also, be sure to click on our NHL betting tips page to get up to speed on how to wager on hockey.
2021 James Norris Memorial Trophy Odds
Cale Makar is the early Norris favorite
After winning rookie of the year honors last year, Cale Makar (+300) is in a position to add to his trophy case with 12 points (1 goal, 11 assists) through the season’s first 11 games. The young man he beat out for the Calder Trophy in 2019-20, Quinn Hughes (+600), is on a similar offensive pace (16 points in 15 games) but while Makar’s Avalanche is atop the West division, the Canucks are struggling with a 6-8 record in the North.
Given that no defenseman has ever won the Norris Trophy while playing on a team that missed the playoffs, it would be unwise to wager on Vancouver’s dynamic 22-year-old.
Cale Makar is coming for your ankles pic.twitter.com/GYArQNiev2
— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) February 3, 2021
Jeff Petry (+700) is averaging over a point per game on the Habs blue line, but the 33-year-old is a sucker bet if we’ve ever seen one. Instead, place your hard-earned money on Victor Hedman (+700).
While the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner is unlikely to match points with Makar or Hughes this season, he could put up enough to make voters wonder how they’ve only awarded him with one Norris Trophy throughout his decorated 13-year NHL career.
Charlie McAvoy in contention
With big Zdeno Chara now in Washington and Torey Krug in St. Louis, Charlie McAvoy (+800) is the man on Boston’s blue line, averaging five more minutes per game than any other teammate. Compared to Drew Doughty since entering the league in 2017, the 23-year-old is more of a prototypical shutdown defenseman than either Hughes or Makar but doesn’t get nearly as much of the valuable power-play time required to rack up points and win the Norris.
While the award is certainly in McAvoy’s future, we think Hedman is the most likely to unseat Makar for the Norris this season. The Pick: Victor Hedman (+700 at BetOnline)
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