Three previous Norris Trophy winners are the finalists for this year’s award, the NHL announced Thursday night.
Adam Fox of the New York Rangers, Erik Karlsson of the San Jose Sharks and Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche are up for the award given to “the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.”
The Norris Trophy is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
Karlsson had one of the most dramatic turnarounds of any player in the NHL this season. After a series of injury-plagued years with the Sharks, Karlsson led all NHL defensemen in scoring for the first time since 2015-16. He finished with 101 points in 82 games, with 25 goals and 76 assists. It was the highest-scoring season for a defenseman since Brian Leetch tallied 102 points in 1991-92. Karlsson set an NHL record by factoring in on 43.35% of San Jose’s total goals, breaking Bobby Orr’s 1969-70 mark of 43.32%.
The 32-year-old defenseman is seeking his third Norris Trophy win, having previously captured the award in 2012 and 2015.
Fox won the Norris during his 2020-21 season with the Rangers. While he didn’t reach the offensive heights of Karlsson’s season, Fox had a solid 72 points in 82 games, with 12 goals and 60 assists. He was considered a better all-around defenseman this season, with a plus-28 rating compared to Karlsson’s minus-26 rating.
Fox became just the second defenseman in NHL history to win the Norris within his first two seasons, joining Hall of Famer Bobby Orr. He can equal Orr’s record for most Norris wins in a player’s first four seasons.
Makar won the Norris Trophy for the first time last season. He was limited to 60 games in 2022-23 because of injuries, but dominated in them: 66 points, with 17 goals and 49 assists. He skated more on average (26:23) than Karlsson (25:37) and Fox (24:23). Both Fox and Makar were among their team’s top penalty killers, while Karlsson skated only 22 seconds on the penalty kill per game.
The winner will be revealed live during the 2023 NHL Awards at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Monday, June 26.