Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (8) in the first period of Game 5 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series Tuesday, June 8, 2021,in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
- Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche is the +500 favorite to win the 2021-22 Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman
- Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning, the 2017-18 Norris winner, is at odds of +600
- Last season’s winner Adam Fox of the New York Rangers is also at +600
Based on the opening betting line, oddsmakers are anticipating that the pursuit of the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman will be a wide-open contest. The reason there isn’t a clear favorite is because the league is suddenly chock full of elite defenders. There is a constituency within the hockey world that is of the belief that Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Maker should’ve won the 2021 Norris. Interestingly, he’s been established as the +500 favorite in the 2022 Norris Trophy odds.
Adam Fox of the New York Rangers won the Norris in 2021 in just his second NHL season. In the past four seasons, Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning has won both the Norris and the Conn Smythe Trophy as Stanley Cup MVP.
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2022 NHL Norris Trophy Odds
|Defenseman (Team)||Odds at DraftKings|
|Cale Makar (Avalanche)||+500|
|Adam Fox (Rangers)||+600|
|Victor Hedman (Lightning)||+600|
|Dougie Hamilton (Hurricanes)||+1200|
|Charlie McAvoy (Bruins)||+1200|
|Jaccob Slavin (Hurricanes)||+1500|
|Miro Heiskanen (Stars)||+1500|
|Quinn Hughes (Canucks)||+1500|
|Roman Josi (Predators)||+1500|
|Aaron Ekblad (Panthers)||+2000|
|Jared Spurgeon (Wild)||+2000|
|John Carlson (Capitals)||+2000|
|Morgan Rielly (Maple Leafs)||+2000|
|Alex Pietrangelo (Golden Knights)||+2000|
|Ryan Pulock (Islanders)||+2000|
|Shea Theodore (Golden Knights)||+2000|
|Devon Toews (Avalanche)||+2500|
|Jeff Petry (Canadiens)||+2500|
|Adam Pelech (Islanders)||+3000|
|Brent Burns (Sharks)||+3000|
|John Klingberg (Stars)||+3000|
|Kris Letang (Penguins)||+3000|
|Nate Schmidt (Canucks)||+3000|
|Shea Weber (Canadiens)||+3000|
|Torey Krug (Blues)||+3000|
|Ryan Ellis (Predators)||+3000|
Odds as of July 14th
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Sharing the Wealth
Traditionally, the Norris club is an exclusive group. Doug Harvey won the Norris seven of the first nine years it was awarded. Then Pierre Pilote won three in a row. Bobby Orr won eight times in succession.
Francisco Lindor meets and exchanges/signs a jersey with Rangers defenseman (and Norris Trophy winner) Adam Fox. pic.twitter.com/ARqJmet9nN
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) July 6, 2021
In more recent history, Nicklas Lidstrom won seven times over a 10-year span. Lately, though, the Norris is becoming an all-comers meet.
2022 Stanley Cup Odds Tracker
There’s been nine different winners of the trophy over the past nine seasons. Of that group, seven were first-time Norris winners.
Hedman Facing Surgery
As the Lightning won a second straight Stanley Cup, Hedman finished third in playoff scoring with 18 points. That led all defensemen during the postseason.
What’s even more impressive is that Hedman did so while playing on a torn meniscus. He suffered the injury during a March 30th game, playing the entire postseason on one healthy knee.
Victor Hedman led all defenseman in points during the playoffs with 18, which was the 3rd most of any player.
He played the entire postseason with a torn meniscus. Legend. pic.twitter.com/OAxQV9xmok
— Andrew Weiss (@WeissHockeyTalk) July 13, 2021
Hedman will undergo surgery during the offseason and is expecting a downtime of 2-4 weeks. It all goes well, and there are no setbacks, he should be good to go to start the regular season.
However, will Hedman, 30, be at 100 percent? Might the Lightning treat him with kid gloves to start the season similarly to what they did last season with Nikita Kucherov following his offseason hip surgery, aware that he’s most valuable to the team during a playoff run?
Was Makar Jobbed?
Makar won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie in 2019-20, edging fellow defenseman Quinn Hughes of the Vancouver Canucks.
First All-Star team defenseman, Cale Makar 🤩#AllHailCale #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/8CLTwJnTX4
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) June 30, 2021
The Colorado rearguard finished three points behind Fox (47-44) in scoring among NHL defensemen. However, he played 12 fewer games due to injury. Makar scored three more goals than Fox (8-5). His analytics were also much better than what Fox showed.
Norris Trophy Sleepers Worth Considering
In his first season without Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug as teammates on the Boston Bruins’ blueline corps, Charlie McAvoy stepped to the fore. McAvoy posted 5-25-30 totals in 51 games. He was plus-22 while averaging 24:00 of ice time per game.
The Florida Panthers took a significant step forward as a team last season, and Aaron Ekblad was a big part of that. Before suffering a season-ending broken left leg, the 2014-15 Calder Trophy winner was plus-five with 22 points in 35 games.
Quietly, Darnell Nurse enjoyed a spectacular season for the Edmonton Oilers. He was second among rearguards with 16 goals and fifth with a plus-27 rating. Nurse also played 25:38 a night. However, even as the favorite Makar offers great value at +500 in the Norris Trophy odds.
Pick: Cale Makar (Avalanche) +500
An industry veteran, Bob literally taught the course on the history of sports at Elder College. He has worked as a Sports Columnist for Postmedia, appeared as a guest on several radio stations, was the Vice President of the Society For International Hockey Research in Ontario, and written 25 books.