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, the NHL announced Wednesday.
The award is given annually to the “defence player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.”
Fox, playing in just his second NHL season, was among the leaders for defenceman in assists (first, 42), points (second, 47), power-play helpers (second, 21), power-play points (third, 23) and takeaways (third, 38). He finished the season with 47 points in 55 contests, a five-point jump from his rookie campaign on Broadway when he put up 42 in 70 games.
The 23-year-old, who was acquired in a 2019 trade from the Carolina Hurricanes, is the Rangers’ first Norris Trophy finalist since 1996-97, when Brian Leetch won the award for the second time in his career. The native of Jericho, N.Y., is also seeking to become the fourth player in franchise history to capture the trophy, after Leetch, Harry Howell and Doug Harvey.
Hedman, meanwhile, is gunning for his second Norris Trophy after winning the award in 2017-18. The 30-year-old from Ornskoldsvik, Sweden is a finalist for the fifth straight season, a streak last achieved by fellow countryman Nicklas Lidstrom, after placing third among defence in points (45), tied for fifth in assists (36) and tied for seventh in goals (nine) in 54 games. He also ranked second in the entire league in power-play assists (23) and sixth in power-play points (24).
Makar, the reigning Calder winner, is looking to add more hardware to his trophy cabinet. The 22-year-old picked up where he left off in his rookie campaign, putting up 44 points in 44 games with his point-per-game average (1.00) leading all defenceman. Despite his 12 games missed to injury, the Calgary native also ranked sixth among defenceman in points.
Makar is vying to become the first Norris Trophy winner in the Avalanche’s franchise history (Rob Blake, Ray Bourque and Sandis Ozolinsh all had top-three finishes).
Along with Fox, he’s seeking to join Bobby Orr as the lone defencemen in NHL history to capture the Norris in his second season.
The winners of the 2021 NHL Awards will be revealed during the Stanley Cup Semifinals and Final, with specific dates and the format to be announced.