The Norris Trophy is awarded to the NHL’s best defenceman, which was most recently won by Erik Karlsson for the third time.
Despite that, he’s not among the top favourites to win it in 2023/24. Take a look at the five players with the shortest odds to take home the award.
As first-year captain, Quinn Hughes is leading the Vancouver Canucks in many ways. Offensively, he is quarterbacking his already strong offensive teammates both on the powerplay and five on five. He matches that with strong defensive play, even with measurements of 5’10, 180 lbs.
So far this season, Hughes leads NHL defencemen in assists, and points, and he's second in plus/minus, trailing defensive partner Filip Hronek by one. He leads his team in defensive point shares with 4.8, which ranks second in the league behind only Gustav Forsling of the Florida Panthers.
He has already surpassed his career-best goal total, and is on his way to smashing his single-season assist and point records.
Hughes has been a complete weapon since his first full season in the 2019/20 season, but this year he has taken a big step further that has him considered as the favourite for the Norris Trophy.
Another great young defenceman is Cale Makar, who the second of the two major contenders for this award.
Makar, who is arguably the most talented defenceman in the league, won the Norris Trophy (as well as the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy) in the 2021/22 season.
Not only is Makar one of the best defencemen in the league, but many have him pegged as a top player overall. His skills are top notch, with elite skating, a powerful and accurate shot, and exceptional playmaking skills. Plus, he has the most takeaways this season among NHL defencemen with 46.
Makar has surpassed over a point per game for basically his whole career so far, and he is a major threat every night. He is a major part in the Avalanche’s success.
The first surprise on this list is New York Islanders defenceman Noah Dobson.
Dobson is in his fifth NHL season, and he is climbing the ranks at a fast pace. While he has been solid since he's entered the league, this is clearly a breakout year for him, even on a struggling Islanders team.
The 24-year-old is scoring well over a point per game, which is in part due to his impressive assist total. Other than his offensive production, Dobson plays well in a gritty and defensive style of play for the Islanders, and he's eighth in the league with 4.0 defensive point shares.
He may not be a household name just yet, but this incredible season has him in for the Norris Trophy conversation, and he will only get better.
Edmonton Oilers' Evan Bouchard has been developing into a great defenceman, and he finds himself on this list. The big defender is strong in his own end, and a constant offensive threat with his booming shot.
Bouchard is just in his third full NHL season, and is officially breaking out. He is nearing a point per game average, and has scored double digits in goals. His offensive numbers are Norris Trophy calibre.
He is also a very good defender, with a large frame at 6’3, and Edmonton has themselves a player they can rely on every night. He has 30 takeaways so far this season and has 2.9 defensive point shares.
The 24-year-old is on his way to becoming one of the star defencemen in this league, one that could be consistently considered for the Norris Trophy.
A defenseman that many people know from his consistent dominance is Victor Hedman.
The veteran Swedish star is the backbone of Tampa Bay’s defensive core, and was a major contributor in their two recent Stanley Cup wins.
This year, he is still performing at an elite level. As per usual, he is scoring lots of goals, averaging over a point per game, and is a total brick wall when it comes to defensive efforts. The season he has had thus far should come to no surprise.
Hedman has won the Norris Trophy once in the 2017/18 season, but he has been a perennial contender. Consistency is key for this defender, and while he only has that one Norris Trophy in 14 seasons, he is without a doubt one of the best defencemen in the league.
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