Roman Josi and Cale Makar pulling away for 2022 Norris Trophy honors

2022 Norris Trophy
Feb 5, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Central Division defender Cale Makar (left) of the Colorado Avalanche fist bumps Central Division defender Roman Josi (59) of the Nashville Predators during the 2022 NHL All-Star Game at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL’s race to see who will win the Norris Trophy is boiling down to two lead horses. Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators and Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche have pulled away from the pack in recent weeks.

Named after James Norris, a Canadian businessman that owned the Detroit Red Wings, the award goes to the defenseman that demonstrates the greatest all-around ability at the position. It is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, and this season they will need to decide between two worthy blue-liners.

Cale Makar odds on favorite to win Norris Trophy

Earlier in the season, the race was a lot closer with the New York Rangers’ Adam Fox and Tampa Bay Lightning’s Victor Hedman leading the way per oddsmakers.

Over the course of the last two months, both Makar and Josi have taken off with the former leading the way.

Per Vegas Insider:

  • Cale Makar (Colorado) -275
  • Roman Josi (Nashville) +250
  • Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay) +1000
  • Adam Fox (N.Y. Rangers) +2500

Makar, 23, has 75 points on the strength of 24 goals and 51 assists in 66 games. The Colorado Avalanche also lead the entire NHL in points at 106 as they look to claim the Presidents Trophy.

Last season, Makar was named an All-Star and he signed a huge contract extension over the summer. The deal is worth $54 million with an AAV of $9,000,000.

“In just over two seasons, Cale has already established himself as one of the premier defensemen in the National Hockey League,” GM Joe Sakic said after the signing. “His ability to play in all situations and at both ends of the ice makes him truly unique and we are excited to have him anchor our blueline for years to come.”

The contract certainly opened eyes around the league, but it looks like it’s paying off immediately for the Avalanche.

Roman Josi making a strong case

roman josi
May 3, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi (59) celebrates the game winning goal during overtime against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Josi, 31, is having another fine season with 84 points in 67 games. While Makar is the favorite by oddsmaker, Roman would get my vote today.

The former Norris winner in 2019-20 has played all 11 of his NHL seasons in Nashville and leads the team in scoring. This year he also moved ahead of David Legwand into the top spot on the club’s all-time assist list when he hit 357 in January.

“It’s really cool, definitely,” said Josi afterwards. “I’ve been very fortunate to play here for so long (11 seasons), in this great city in front of our great fans, amazing organization. I’ve had some amazing teammates. Really fortunate to be playing with so many great players in the past and now. It’s definitely very special.”

Bottom line, this is going to be a close race and you can’t lose with either defenseman you choose.