The Best of the NHL Defensemen: Norris Trophy Odds
“Number Four” Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, and Niklas Lidström are some of the first names that pop into the heads of hockey fans when you ask them, “who is the best NHL defenseman of all-time?” While the answer for the best defenseman is clear (the correct answer is Bobby Orr, if you think anything else—well—you’re wrong), you can be forgiven if you want to fill out your top three, five or 10 with other players like Devis Potvin, Paul Coffey or Doug Harvey. The one thing they all have in common is they have all won a Norris Trophy, the yearly award given out to the NHL’s best defenseman.
You would think betting on Norris Trophy Odds would be a simple endeavor, but you would be wrong. The Norris Trophy is an odd award because it does not necessarily go to the best defensive defenseman, but rather is awarded annually to the National Hockey League‘s top “defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.” In other words, you would expect someone who was equally as good on the defensive end as the offensive end to win the trophy, but that is not exactly the case. While in past years monster shutdown defensemen like Zdeno Chara and Chris Pronger have come away with the hardware, recent victors have included defense averse Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns
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Norris Trophy Betting
Your best bet when it comes to figuring out Norris Trophy odds is to look at the defensemen who aren’t complete liabilities on the defensive end and then see which player is leading all other defensemen in points, whether that comes by a plethora of goals or assists. Sometimes you get defensemen that are great quarterbacks on the power play unit or for some reason or another explode with assists in a particular year. And then there are other years like John Carlson’s 2019-2020 where he just dominated on both ends.
History of the Norris Trophy
The Norris Trophy was named in honor of James E. Norris who owned the Detroit Red Wings from the early 1930s until his death in 1952. Unlike almost all of the other NHL awards, the Norris stands out because it is one of the only trophies whose history is not entirely dominated by Montreal Canadiens. Rather, the team with the most Norris trophies is their rivals, the Boston Bruins. The Bruins have had 14 Norris Trophy winners through their illustrious history with Bobby Orr doing the majority of the leg work.
Orr won a record eight straight Norris Trophies from 1968-1975 (to go along with three Hart Trophies) while Ray Bourque won another five for the Spoked-Bs. Bourque’s run as one of the best defensemen in the NHL included not just those five top honors, but also 10 other top-3 finishes in Norris Trophy voting. The Norris is also a great indicator as to future entry into the NHL Hall of Fame as only two defensemen who won the trophy and are eligible for the hall are currently not in; Randy Carlyle and Doug Wilson.