All three of the players nominated for the NHL’s Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman have won the hardware before. San Jose Sharks veteran Erik Karlsson, New York Rangers’ Adam Fox and Colorado Avalanche’s Cale Makar are the 2022-23 Norris Trophy finalists, the NHL announced on Thursday.
The award is voted on annually by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association at the end of the regular season and presented “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position,” per NHL.com.
Karlsson has won two Norris Trophies and is the frontrunner for a third after an incredible season for the lowly Sharks; the 32-year-old led all defensemen with 25 goals and an astounding 101 points in 82 games. He became the first blueliner since Brian Leetch in the early 1990s to reach the century mark.
Fox won the Norris in 2021, and was excellent again for the Rangers this season, setting a new career high with 12 goals and ranking eighth among all blue-liners with 72 points in a full 82-game season. The 25-year-old also tied for the most takeaways in 2022-23 with 88.
Cale Makar won the trophy last season after solidifying himself as the best all-around defenseman in the world, and although his campaign was plagued by injuries, costing him 22 games of the season, he was excellent when healthy for the Avalanche.
He contributed 66 points in just 60 games for Colorado, and led the league in average ice time, eating 26:23 minutes per night. It’s the third straight year he’s been nominated for the trophy.
Each of the three rearguards have a case to make for the 2022-23 Norris Trophy, but critics have begun to assert that there should be two separate distinctions: one for offensive prowess and one for defensive ability.
Still, it seems like the trophy is Erik Karlsson’s to lose this season, as he had a truly incredible campaign on a miserable San Jose Sharks team, while both Fox and Makar benefited from a much better supporting cast.
The winner will be revealed at the 2023 NHL Awards at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN on Jun. 26.
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