Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman joined Adam Fox of the New York Rangers and Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche as finalists for the 2020-21 James Norris Memorial Trophy on Wednesday.
The winner will be announced during the conference finals or Stanley Cup Finals, with the exact date and time to be revealed at a later date.
The NHL Press Release reads in part:
NEW YORK (June 9, 2021) – Adam Fox of the New York Rangers, Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche are the three finalists for the 2020-21 James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position,” the National Hockey League announced today.
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Norris Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winners of the 2021 NHL Awards presented by Bridgestone will be revealed during the Stanley Cup Semifinals and Stanley Cup Final, with exact dates, format and times to be announced.
Hedman is the favorite to win it
Hedman, who won the award in 2017-18, is a finalist for the fifth consecutive season. The 30-year-old Swede recorded 45 points (nine goals, 36 assists), which ranked third among NHL blueliners.
Fox ranked first among defensemen in assists (42) and second in both points (47) and power-play assists (21) during his second NHL season. The 23-year-old is the Rangers’ first Norris Trophy finalist since 1996-97, when Hall of Famer Brian Leetch won the award for the second time.
Makar, the reigning Calder Memorial Trophy recipient as the NHL’s top rookie, recorded 44 points (eight goals, 36 assists) to finish sixth among NHL defensemen in 2020-21. The 22-year-old is bidding to become the first Norris Trophy recipient in franchise history.
Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi won the Norris Trophy last season.
Adam Fox should win it but…
What a season the 23 year-old from Jericho, LI had. Fox finished second overall in scoring for blue-liners with 47 points. His 42 assists were the most by an NHL defenseman and he was seventh for total ice time. Only Edmonton’s Tyson Barrie had more points playing on a team that boasts both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
Winning the Norris Trophy would be special for Fox. If he were to be selected, he would be just the second defenseman to win it in his sophomore season with the great Bobby Orr being the only other one. However, if he were to win it, Fox would be the first ever to do so without his team qualifying for the playoffs.
In researching all winners starting in 1953-54, no Norris winner ever missed the playoffs. Starting with the Red Wings Red Kelly, not a single one earned the honor without his team in postseason action. Some may quibble that last year’s winner, Roman Josi was the first but the Nashville Predators were part of the Return-To-Play format. Even though they lost in the qualifying round, all points scored in those games were categorized as playoff stats.
–Field Level Media contributed to this article