(via NHL Communications) - Adam Fox of the New York Rangers, Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche are the three finalists for the 2020-21 James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position,” the National Hockey League announced today.
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Norris Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winners of the 2021 NHL Awards presented by Bridgestone will be revealed during the Stanley Cup Semifinals and Stanley Cup Final, with exact dates, format and times to be announced.
Following are the finalists for the Norris Trophy, in alphabetical order:
Adam Fox, New York Rangers
Playing in his second NHL season, Fox ranked among the top defensemen in assists (1st; 42), points (2nd; 47), power-play assists (2nd; 21), takeaways (3rd; 38) and power-play points (3rd; 23) across 55 contests. Fox, who also placed seventh among all skaters in total time on ice (1,358:51) while recording a +19 rating, accumulated nearly half of his points during a 12-game streak from March 17 – April 8 (3-19—22), the fourth-longest by any player in 2020-21 and second-longest by a blueliner behind only Dougie Hamilton (14 GP w/ CAR). The 23-year-old Jericho, N.Y., native is the Rangers’ first Norris Trophy finalist since 1996-97, when Brian Leetch won the award for the second time (also 1991-92 w/ NYR), and is seeking to become the fourth player in franchise history to capture the trophy, after Leetch, Harry Howell (1966-67) and Doug Harvey (1961-62).
Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
Hedman placed among the leading defensemen in points (3rd; 45), assists (t-5th; 36) and goals (t-7th; 9) through 54 appearances (0.83 P/GP), matching the second-best points-per-game rate of his 12-season NHL career (behind only 2016-17: 0.91 P/GP). Hedman, who also ranked second among all skaters (forwards and defensemen) in power-play assists (23) and sixth in power-play points (24), finished seventh in the entire NHL in average time on ice (25:03) – the second-highest rate of his career after 2017-18 (25:51). The 30-year-old Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, native – who won the Norris Trophy in 2017-18 and placed third in voting in 2016-17, 2018-19 and 2019-20 – is a finalist for the fifth consecutive season, a streak last achieved by fellow countryman Nicklas Lidstrom from 1997-98 through 2002-03 (6 straight seasons).
Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche
Makar, the reigning Calder Memorial Trophy winner, ranked sixth among defensemen with 8-36—44 (44 GP) despite missing 12 of Colorado’s 56 contests (21.4%). His average of 1.00 points per game topped all blueliners in 2020-21 and marked the second time in Avalanche/Nordiques history a defenseman has produced at such a rate, after Steve Duchesne in 1992-93 (20-62—82 in 82 GP w/ QUE). The 22-year-old Calgary native is vying to become 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 and Fox each are seeking to become the second defenseman in League history to take home the award in his second NHL season (or earlier), after Bobby Orr accomplished the feat in 1967-68 (2nd NHL season w/ BOS).
The James Norris Memorial Trophy was presented in 1953 by the four children of the late James Norris in memory of the former owner-president of the Detroit Red Wings.
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