The James Norris Memorial Trophy is awarded to the best defenseman in the National Hockey League and voting is conducted at the end of the regular season, with three finalists named.
For the 2021/2022 season, the finalists for the Norris trophy are Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators, Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche. Only Hedman and Makar remain in the playoffs, fighting for Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Roman Josi and Cale Makar have certainly made names for themselves as the best defensemen on their respective NHL teams. Both teams are in the Central division, so the two have gone head-to-head multiple times over their careers. In the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs, Josi and Makar battled for a spot in the next round. In hindsight, the Avs sweeping the Preds in the first round is not as embarrassing as fans thought. However, with the way the Avs have dominated their opponents since the Preds, nobody will be surprised if they end up hoisting the Cup at the end of the final series.
Roman Josi – Swiss
Josi led defensemen in the NHL with a total of 96 points; he scored 23 goals and 73 assists. His 400th career assists guaranteed the Nashville Predators their 8th straight appearance in the playoffs. They have made the playoffs 15 times in franchise history. This year most would say the Predators had no business being in the playoffs, but Josi’s on-ice vs off-ice presence showcases how dominant his play is. At full strength, Josi led defensemen in points, with an impressive 59 from even strength and a save percentage of .924. In the 2021-22 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Makar’s Avalanche swept Josi’s Predators in the first round of the playoffs. Josi scored two points in that series: one goal and one assist.
Cale Makar – Canadian
Makar trailed behind Josi notching only 86 points; 28 goals scored and 58 assists. He led all blue liners with his 28 goals. So far, he has 26 points in the Stanley Cup playoffs; 7 goals, and 19 assists. Makar has been a force for the Avalanche defense. He held the reigning Stanley Cup champions to a shutout in Game 2 of the final series. In the regular season, his on-ice save percentage at full strength was .934 for the Avs. The Avalanche lead the finals at 2-1 after three games played.
Josi and Makar have both made their cases for winning the Norris Trophy at this year’s NHL Honors. Cale Makar will probably come out on top. Traditionally, the best defenseman in the league is awarded the Norris Trophy. Roman Josi deserves the Norris as he led the league on a team that just barely made the playoffs. However, Cale Makar’s points have all been tallied on a team with the highest seed in the Western Conference. Now, Makar is playing against the reigning Stanley Cup champions for the coveted prize. In conclusion, Roman Josi statistically made his case for the Norris Trophy. However, Cale Makar’s Avalanche put him in a position to win more than just the Cup.