It was a disappointing end to the Colorado Avalanche 2022-23 season as the broken and dismantled squad bowed out in the first round of the playoffs. Despite Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon setting career milestones not much as expected in the way of recognition from the league awards. However, as a mild surprise Cale Makar was named a Norris Trophy finalist for the NHL’s top defenseman after winning the award last season.
Erik Karlsson who eclipsed the 100 point mark is the odds on favorite to take home the trophy when the awards are announced in June. The other finalist with Makar is another former Norris winner in Adam Fox.
Adam Fox (@NYRangers), Erik Karlsson (@SanJoseSharks) and Cale Makar (@Avalanche) are the three finalists for the 2022-23 James Norris Memorial Trophy. #NHLAwards #NHLStats: https://t.co/PBHG7Ytaru pic.twitter.com/zXP7Futey3— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 4, 2023
Makar missed 22 games and didn’t rack up the overall point totals voters like to see with just 66 points but the second highest points per game total and clear impact on the retained a lot of favor with the voters. There were several strong seasons worth recognition from emerging high-end defensemen such as from Josh Morrissey, Rasmus Dahlin and Miro Heiskanen just to name a few that it is still quite an honor for Makar to be named a finalist.
Cale Makar ranked second among defensemen with 1.10 points per game (17-49—66 in 60 GP) and finished among the top blueliners in game-winning goals (t-2nd; 6), goals (6th) and power-play points (6th; 30). #NHLAwards#NHLStats: https://t.co/PBHG7Ytaru pic.twitter.com/JdaOPBtOty— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 4, 2023
This is Makar’s third consecutive nomination in just his fourth season in the NHL putting him in company yet again with Bobby Orr. And this will not be the last award Makar will be nominated for in his already impressive career.
Makar's offensive WAR is uncharacteristically not that high because the Avs held strong when he was hurt. But he was his usual dominant self with the puck and underrated defensively as well. #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/F6r1fuDBKB— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) May 4, 2023