Hedman, Josi, Makar named Norris Trophy finalists

Victor Hedman, Roman Josi and Cale Makar were named finalists for the Norris Trophy on Monday.

The award is given annually to the defenseman voted to have demonstrated throughout the season the greatest all-around ability at the position and the winner will be announced as part of the 2022 NHL Awards during the Conference Finals or Stanley Cup Final.

Hedman finished third among defenseman in scoring with 85 points (20 goals, 65 assists), third in goals and second in assists in 82 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning this season, was first in power-play points (38), tied for first in game-winning goals (six), fifth in shots on goal (219) and had a plus-26 rating. He was 11th in the NHL in ice time per game (25:05). Hedman was second on the Lightning in points behind forward Steven Stamkos (106) and led their defenseman with 3:35 of power-play ice time per game. He helped Tampa Bay rank sixth in goals against per game (2.78) and eighth on the power play (23.9 percent).

A finalist for the sixth straight season, Hedman won the award in 2017-18 and finished third each of the past three seasons. The 31-year-old helped the back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Lightning (51-23-8) qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the eighth time in nine seasons.

“Well, it’s certainly a great honor once again,” Hedman said. “For me, the trophy that matters most is the one we play for as a team, obviously, but to get the individual recognition is always great. Playing for this team is such an honor and without my teammates I wouldn’t be in this situation. I owe everything to this organization and my teammates.

“You certainly do not take it for granted, especially with all the unbelievable defensemen there are in this league. I try to do as good as I can going into every season. Getting nominated is one thing, you want to try and win it too, but at the end of the day just getting nominated is a great honor. Reaching it after (age 30) is great, but I feel like I’m getting better with age and hopefully that continues. “

Josi led defenseman in scoring with 96 points (23 goals, 73 assists), power-play goals (11) and shots on goal (281) in 80 games for the Nashville Predators, becoming the first defenseman to score at least 90 points in a season since Ray Bourque (91) did so for the Boston Bruins in 1993-94. Josi was eighth in the NHL in average time on ice (25:33), 11th in scoring and fifth in assists. He set the Predators single-season points record and had at least one point in 54 games this season, including 12 games with at least three points. Josi, who averaged 1.20 points per game, had a 13-game point streak from March 2-27, scoring 28 points (four goals, 24 assists), the longest ever by a Predators defenseman, and tied with Makar for the longest by an NHL defenseman this season.

“Definitely a huge honor,” Josi said. “Nominated with those guys too. I mean, obviously Makar and Hedman, two unbelievable players and guys I loved watching play, guys I love competing against. So it’s definitely a huge honor to be nominated with those guys.”

A finalist for the second time, winning the award in 2019-20, Josi helped the Predators (45-30-7) qualify for the playoffs for the eighth straight season.

“I think when you look at what he brings to the table, I mean, from a defensive perspective, he plays hard minutes, plays a lot of minutes.” Predators coach John Hynes said. “I think he’s really grown his game in that area where he is an elite offensive defensemen that can play in multiple situations. I think when you look at his offensive abilities, the way he can create, he’s a great skater. He can create off the rush. He creates in the offensive zone. I think he’s been dynamic on the power play this year.

“The three candidates that are there are all exceptional, exceptional players. But I think you look at ‘Jos,’ what he brings to the team, the type of year that he’s had, he drives our team. I think in all aspects of “the game, he’s elite. He’s in great company with the other two guys that are candidates, but I think with the year that he’s had, he’s been spectacular.”

Makar led the position in goals, scoring 28 for the Colorado Avalanche, and was second to Josi in points (86). He ranked second among defenseman with a plus-48 rating, second in even-strength points (52), third in power-play points (34), tied for first in game-winning goals (six) and was second in shots on goal (240). Makar was sixth in the NHL in average ice time per game (25:40) and scored seven goals in a five-game goal-scoring streak from Nov. 17-26, and 21 points (three goals, 18 assists) in a 13-game point streak from Feb.13-March 8.

“Not surprised at all,” Avalanche forward Andre Burakovsky said. “I think he’s the most dynamic D-man I’ve played with and I’ve seen. The things he does out there, it’s hard to believe it. The way he skates, the way he joins the offense, the way he shoots and the way he defends, I mean, obviously I’d be surprised if he did not win it. “

The runner-up for the Norris Trophy last season, Makar helped Colorado finish first in the Western Conference during the regular season (56-19-7) and would be the first Avalanche player to win the award.

“Cale, obviously, my teammate and a (heck) of a player,” Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen said when comparing Makar to Josi. “I think they both are really good defensemen. Probably a little different style. Both are really good offensively but also can defend well. But obviously I’ll give my vote to Cale. You know how explosive he is. Twenty-something goals, almost 30. It’s not easy for defensemen to do. “

New York Rangers Defender Adam Fox won the Norris Trophy last season.

NHL.com columnist Nicholas J. Cotsonika and independent correspondent Corey Long contributed to this report

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