The Best Blueliners
Both the Bruins and Avs are done. Plus, here's a quick look at the Norris Trophy finalists.
Two of the Top Teams Are Done. It’s Why Hockey is the Best
It’s Friday afternoon, which means we usually keep these short. Unfortunately, there are no games tonight after the Islanders knocked out the Bruins and Vegas spanked Colorado.
Did anyone see the Avalanche loss coming? We thought they were arguably one of the better—if not thee best—teams in the tourney. That’s the beautiful (and sometimes painful part) about the NHL playoffs, though: the parity. It’s something you’ll hear from both hockey aficionados and casual fans alike and something that doesn’t seem to happen as much in other sports.
Any team can heat up at the right time and make a run. The next game is at 3 pm ET on Sunday featuring the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning. Is this Tampa’s series to lose? Will the Islanders keep finding a way?
Drop us a note and tell us who you got winning this thing. We’re all ears. Before that, let’s briefly dive into who’s in the running for the James Norris Memorial Trophy, or simply the Norris Trophy, which is awarded annually to the best defenseman in the league. Trivia question: which player has won the Norris the most times? Keep scrolling for the answer.
Tomorrow we’ll be answering the question: Is a strong end to the season necessary to a deep playoff push? This will be sent to our premium subscribers who help power Pregame Skate. If you want to join our Overtime list, and receive content on the weekends, hit the button to subscribe. It costs less than one Bud Light a month, especially with the way inflation is trending. Support the cause below:
The case for Victor Hedman
Victor Hedman is a key piece in the powerhouse that is the Tampa Bay Lightning. This is the fifth time Hedman has been nominated for the Norris including a win in 2018. The last defenseman to be nominated this many times in a row was Nicklas Lidstrom… not bad company. Hedman’s numbers this season were good but not spectacular compared to other defensemen. He would need the voters to do him some favors to win.
The case for Cale Makar
Cale Makar is one of the most exciting players to watch night in and night out. This young D-man is an absolute stud with the puck. Makar ranked sixth in the NHL in points by a defenseman this season despite missing 21% of the games. Makar did average a point-per-game ranking him top among all defensemen. Makar would need voters to factor in his time missed to win the award this year.
The case for Adam Fox
Finally, there’s Adam Fox, the Long Island native playing for the New York Rangers is the favorite to win the award right now. Another smooth, puck-moving defenseman playing in only his second NHL season. Fox led defenseman in assists, was second in points, and third in takeaways. The kid did it all this season. Fox is also the only defenseman on this list that did not make the playoffs. While this shouldn’t affect the voting, the voters are human. Could a playoff run by one of the other contenders knock Fox off the top spot here?
Links From the Rink
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TBT to “Too Much Man”
Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins won the Norris for a record eight consecutive seasons (1968–75). Doug Harvey and Nicklas Lidstrom won the award seven times, and Ray Bourque won it five times (Bourque was in the top 3 vote getters for the trophy a further 10 times). The Boston Bruins have had the most Norris Trophies winners with 14; the Montreal Canadiens have had the second most with 12.