Carlson A Heavy Favorite To Win The Norris Trophy

The James Norris Memorial Trophy is the award handed out to the NHL’s best defenseman as recognized by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association on an annual basis. While there has been no shortage of elite talent that has won the award over the years, it certainly feels like the gap between the sports betting favorite to win this year’s award and everybody else is a lot larger than it has been in a very long time. John Carlson appears to be the runaway winner to be voted as the league’s best defensemen. However, there are still some intriguing sleeper picks on the board that could end up surprising and winning the award. Here is a look at the best bets to win the Norris Trophy this season.


With nine points more than the next closest defensemen on the board, Carlson is the clear favorite to win the Norris Trophy this season. Carlson is up to 13 goals and 55 points in just 46 games. While it’s hard to believe he can keep up his current pace, it’s also hard to imagine anybody will be able to catch him as long as he stays healthy. However, the bad news from a betting perspective is that there really isn’t much value in wagering on him to win the award at -500 odds. Carlson is the obvious favorite to win the Norris. Still, if we are going to put money down on which defensemen will win, it might be wiser to look elsewhere.


The one name that stands out the most at the quarter mark of the season is Josi. The Predators’ captain is up to 46 points in 43 games, nine points back of Carlson for the league lead at his position. At the same time, Josi has a slightly better plus/minus at plus-21 and he’s averaging nearly a minute more in ice time than Carlson. Regarded as the more complete defender of the two, Josi can certainly remain in the conversation for the Norris Trophy if he can keep up his current scoring pace. The challenge is that Washington is in first place in their division while the Predators are barely a playoff team. That means Josi has a lot of ground to cover.


If you want to take a shot on a sleeper pick to win the Norris at excellent value, Makar’s name certainly stands out as somebody that could really shock the hockey world with a strong second half. While rookies usually tend to slow down later in the season, Makar has the potential to keep his foot on the gas thanks in large part to the fact that he is surrounded by so much talent on a highly-skilled Avalanche team. The 21-year-old is up to 33 points in 37 games after missing some time due to injury. His 0.91 points per game ranks fourth among all NHL defensemen behind only Carlson, Josi and Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Makar is still a long shot at best to win the Norris in his rookie season but the Avs are viewed as the Stanley Cup favorite right now. The top defenseman on the top team will be in the conversation.

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