Cale Makar makes history as first Avs defenseman to win major NHL award
Jun 21, 2022, 5:48 PM | Updated: 5:55 pm
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Cale is king!
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar won the James Norris Memorial Trophy on Tuesday night, awarded to the NHL’s best defenseman. Makar is the first member of the Avs to ever take home the Norris — he finished second a season ago.
The award is for regular season play, but Makar has been excellent in the Stanley Cup playoffs as well. The oddsmakers currently have him as the favorite to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, given to the postseason MVP.
Makar scored 28 goals in the regular season, becoming just the fifth defenseman in the past 30 years to reach a total that high. The Avalanche finished with a franchise record 119 points and Makar was arguably their best and most consistent player all year. He tallied 86 total points, second amongst defenseman in the NHL behind another Norris Trophy finalist in Roman Josi of Nashville (96 points). Makar was +48 on the year and Josi was just +13. The Avalanche also swept the Predators in Round 1 of the playoffs. Josi finished second for the Norris with Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman coming in third. The vote was very close as you can see below:
Norris Trophy voting and my ballot. pic.twitter.com/zgN9zsOBCR
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) June 21, 2022
The Avs had never had a Norris Trophy winner, with top-three finishers Rob Blake (3rd in 2001-02), Ray Bourque (2nd in 2000-01) and Sandis Ozolinsh (3rd in 1996-97) all coming close. As mentioned, Makar also just missed out a season ago, finishing runner-up to Adam Fox of the New York Rangers. Makar won the Calder Memorial Trophy in 2019-2020, awarded to the NHL’s Rookie of the Year. Here’s his speech from tonight accepting the honor:
IT'S 🗣️ CALE 🗣️ MAKAR!!!
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 21, 2022
The Avalanche currently lead the Stanley Cup Final 2-1 against the Lightning, with Makar posting two goals and two assists so far in the series. He leads the Avs in postseason points with 26 (seven goals, 19 assists), just in front of Mikko Rantanen (24 points), Gabriel Landeskog (21 points) and Nathan MacKinnon (20 points).
Game 4 is Wednesday night with Cale and Colorado looking to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. After that, we’ll see what other hardware Makar adds to his growing trophy case.