For me, it wasn’t too close. Cale Makar was the only logical choice to win the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best all-around defenseman this season. But I didn’t have a vote.
Neither did a lot of people. For whatever reason, the list of voters for the NHL trophies was drastically cut down this year. Only 100 writers got votes. Anyway, Makar would have gotten my first-place vote. Makar, for me, was better in all the major categories. But there was one thing that hurt him: he missed 12 games to injury. Adam Fox of the New York Rangers, who won the award, missed only one game on the season.
But Makar had only three fewer points (47-44) than Fox. Makar had three more goals (8-5) than Fox. Makar had more than double the number of hits (49-23) in 12 fewer games than Fox. Fox did block many more shots than Makar (102-36), but you know what they say about blocked shots; If you don’t have the puck much, you have to block more shots.
Makar had far better Corsi numbers than Fox. His Corsi for percentage was a tremendous 65.5. Fox’s Corsi for percentage: 53.1. Fox was a plus-19, Makar a plus-17. Makar had only one fewer power-play point (23-22) in 12 fewer games.
Makar played on a team that had the best record in the regular season. Fox played for a Rangers team that missed the playoffs.
I try not to get too worked up over hometown players and trophies, but Makar clearly got the shaft here. It’ll be interesting to see how many eastern reporters got votes as opposed to western ones. Adam Fox is a good player. But Cale Makar is much better, and should have won the Norris.
Here was the final vote:
Five members of the PHWA did not even have Makar in their top 5 for the trophy. What an embarrassment for the PHWA.