Avalanche blueliner Makar named Norris Trophy winner for 2021-22 season
Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche is the 2021-22 recipient of the James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position,” as selected by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
Makar is the first Norris Trophy winner in franchise history, following top-three finishes by Rob Blake (3rd in 2001-02), Ray Bourque (2nd in 2000-01) and Sandis Ozolinsh (3rd in 1996-97). He previously captured won Calder Trophy in his rookie campaign of 2019-20 and finished second in Norris voting last season.
“For me, this goes back to a team award.” said Makar. “This wouldn’t be capable of doing without all of the great guys around me; my ‘D’ partner [Devon Toews] all year and all of the guys on the team. I feel like [Toews] definitely brought my game to another level. This one is definitely a team award as much as it is an individual award.”
Makar edged Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi by a razor-thin margin in voting points, 1,631-1,606, in the closest Norris Trophy vote since Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson shaded Nashville’s Shea Weber 1,069-1,057 in 2012. Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning, the 2017-18 Norris winner, ranked third in balloting for the fourth consecutive year with 940 points.
Makar helped the Avalanche post a franchise-record 119 points by leading NHL defensemen with 28 goals, becoming just the fifth defenseman in the past 30 years to reach that total (Brent Burns, 29 in 2016-17; Mike Green, 31 in 2008-09; Al MacInnis, 28 in 1993-94; and Kevin Hatcher, 34 in 1992-93). He ranked second among blueliners in points (28-58—86) – the goal and point totals setting franchise marks for defensemen – and ranked fifth among all NHLers in plus-minus (+48).
“To be in consideration of that award, is an honor,” Makar said. “Josi and Hedman are great players. I was excited. It’s awesome to have my parents here and spend that with them as well. I’ll have to turn the page quickly here and get ready for tomorrow.”
(June 21, 2022)