At the Halfway Point, the Norris Trophy Odds Leader is John Carlson
The NHL season is just reaching the halfway mark with over three months to go, but the race for the 2020 Norris Trophy for the league’s top defenseman may already be over. It seems to be a one-horse race as John Carlson continues to light the league on fire after a torrid start. He simply has not slowed down.
Carlson started the season with a jaw-dropping 23 points in 14 October games, then followed that up with a point-per-game pace in November (14 points in 14 games) and December (13 points in 13 games). He also picked up a point in the Washington Capitals’ first game of 2020 en route to a win in Carolina, just to add to his case.
The Norris Trophy is awarded to the league’s best defenseman, but defensive metrics aren’t always evenly considered. Over the past 10 full seasons, the Norris Trophy winner had at least 60 points in nine of them (P.K. Subban also had an impressive 38 points in the lockout-shortened 2013 season). This year will be no different. Carlson will likely reach that mark by February, as he already has 51 points — the same number that Drew Doughty had in the 2015-16 season when he won the Norris.
John Carlson Leads in Norris Trophy Odds, but What Sleepers Are Out There?
John Carlson (-500) is a huge favorite at most sportsbooks, and if you can get any better odds than that, jump on it. However, there are a few sleepers you shouldn’t overlook. If Carlson misses time due to injury or whathaveyou, another defenseman could pass him for the Norris.
The Nashville Predators’ defense is impressive, with Roman Josi leading the way. He put on a show in the Winter Classic and has 41 points in 39 games. If he heats up, he’ll be worth a look at +400.
There are two more defensemen with impressive point totals before a small drop-off.
Dougie Hamilton has been a rock for the Carolina Hurricanes with 37 points in 41 games. He has been consistent on the blue line and is a solid bet at +600.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have disappointed so far, but Victor Hedman still has 37 points and his name recognition alone may garner him some votes. If the Lightning go on a run with Hedman at the head of it, he’ll provide great value at +800.
Outside of that, Alex Pietrangelo (+3300) is a longshot, but still good value as the veteran defenseman has 33 points for the reigning Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues.
It’s definitely Carlson’s race to lose at this point, but if he falters, it’ll be nice to have a sleeper or two in your back pocket.
Best SportBook 2019
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