NHL Norris Trophy Odds: Cale Makar a Slight Favorite to Reclaim the Belt

Austin Swaim
Austin SwaimASwaim3
NHL Norris Trophy Odds: Cale Makar a Slight Favorite to Reclaim the Belt

The Norris Trophy could be the NHL's most fun to bet.

While a group of clear contenders has emerged, which one gets it is the interesting part. In the last three seasons, four different defensemen have posted at least two top-five performances in terms of points. That's not even counting one of this year's closest favorites coming off his first career top-five effort.

Which of these skilled defensemen will take home the hardware this upcoming season? Let's peruse the the Norris Trophy odds at FanDuel Sportsbook and see whose situation may have gotten better, worse, or stayed about the same.

NHL Calder Trophy Odds

2024-25 Norris Trophy Odds
Cale Makar+300
Adam Fox+600
Quinn Hughes+600
Evan Bouchard+950
Roman Josi+1200
Miro Heiskanen+1300
Noah Dobson+1500
View Full Table

Cale Makar, Avalanche (+300)

The defenseman who reached 250 NHL points the fastest of any in the history of the sport was Cale Makar, and that sort of talent is why Makar will be favored in the offseason for this award for several years to come.

The 25-year-old has bagged back-to-back top-three finishes in Norris Trophy voting -- even doing so in 2022-23 with just 60 games played. Makar already has his first selection from 2021-22, which was also the year the Colorado Avalanche won their first Stanley Cup since 2001.

Makar's last season, collecting 90 points in 77 games, was excellent. He just fell two points behind Quinn Hughes, who arguably spurred the Vancouver Canucks' offense as the primary force to the 2 seed in the Western Conference. There will always be an obstacle to absolute credit for Makar given that he shares the ice with Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen.

Nonetheless, if Hughes stumbles in any fashion, there's good reason to believe Makar will sniff 90 points again. A large portion of the Avs' salary cap is tied to Gabriel Landeskog and Valeri Nichushkin, who should both be unavailable for most of next season. They'll need his production to stay toward the top of the West -- and the Central Division.

Adam Fox, Rangers (+600)

Only one of these gentlemen has finished in the top six in points by a defenseman each of the last three seasons. That's Adam Fox of the New York Rangers.

Voter fatigue could work in Fox's favor given that it's been a bit since his 2020-21 Norris Trophy triumph compared to other top contenders like Makar and last year's winner, Hughes. Nonetheless, he's continued to spit out offensive production with at least 55 points in each of the past three campaigns.

Fox's 2023-24 season was an odd one. He lost 10 games to a knee injury that badly hurt his production in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and there were times that he was demoted off the Rags' top even-strength pairing in favor of K'Andre Miller and Jacob Trouba -- two other solid defensemen in their own right.

Nonetheless, of the top contenders, it's most certain New York is near the top of their conference. They added former Pittsburgh Penguins top-six forward Reilly Smith to an illustrious forward grouping that posted a 55-23-4 record last year. Plus, Igor Shesterkin is a co-favorite for the Vezina Trophy.

Makar and Hughes' talent pool on their team isn't quite as deep, so if Fox's Rangers are the only team at the top with similar production, this award could go to him. I'm just concerned his even-strength role isn't quite up to snuff if he's demoted once more.

Quinn Hughes, Canucks (+600)

Quinn Hughes' largest obstacle to winning this award next season might be historical trends.

Awards weren't quite the glamorous proposition they are now the last time we saw a repeat winner of the Norris, which was Niklas Lindstrom between 2009 and 2011. That was amidst a stretch of 7 trophies in 10 years for the Detroit Red Wings legend -- an unthinkable notion in today's world with social media.

Hughes won this past season's award as the team's second-leading point-earner (92), which has a forward grouping deeper than it has stars. Vancouver stunned most to leap to the top of the Pacific Division last season, and their stud on defense was a huge part of that.

Swapping in Jake DeBrusk for Elias Lindholm, I'm not sure how to project a Canucks core that, before last season, failed to top 95 points in the standings as a team each of the previous three years. If they take a step back in the win column, it'll be even tougher for Hughes to defy history and win back-to-back Norris Trophies.

As scary as it is to fade the blue-liner with the position's most points since the start of last season (176), Hughes is the one name I'm inclined to pass on from this lead group.

Evan Bouchard, Oilers (+950)

The most interesting name on the board might be Evan Bouchard.

The former top-10 pick was largely lumped into the "bust" category before a breakout 2023-24 campaign. He had not topped 45 points in either of his first two full seasons with the Edmonton Oilers but was -- out of desperation after the exodus of Tyson Barrie -- thrust into a lead role atop the Oilers' even-strength and power-play defense pairings in 2023-24. He absolutely shined.

Bouchard finished with 82 points in 81 games -- fourth at the position -- and carried that production into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where he was an overtime hero on two occasions as part of 32 points in 25 games overall.

You couldn't paint a better spot for production of points than the one Bouchard has on Edmonton's top power-play unit. The Oilers were fourth in power-play percentage during the regular season (24.6%), and they kicked that up to an absurd 29.3% in the playoffs. Led by Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, that sort of conversion likely isn't going anywhere.

The Oilers are tied for the shortest odds to win the Stanley Cup (+900), and if the point numbers are close between Bouchard, Makar, and Hughes at the end of the season, there's upside to this +950 number. Bouchard is a fresh face on potentially the best team of the three players, which could sway a few votes in the margins.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.