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Morgan Rielly’s Norris Odds Improve to +1100 at Expense of Erik Karlsson

Norris trophy odds
Morgan Rielly is now a top-5 Norris trophy contender. Photo by Michael Miller (Wiki Commons) [CC License].
  • Morgan Rielly has jumped from +3000 to +1100 since the preseason to win the Norris trophy
  • Rielly is averaging a point per game this season, while top preseason contender Erik Karlsson has just two points and is a minus-8 through four games
  • Read below as we break down the early candidates to win the award for the NHL’s best defenseman

Prior to the start of the NHL season, Morgan Rielly was +3000 to win the Norris trophy. Fast forward a month, and the Leafs defenseman is now a top-5 contender for the award, ahead of last year’s winner Mark Giordano, among many others.

2020 Norris Trophy Odds

Player Odds at Bovada*
Brent Burns (Sharks) +500
Victor Hedman (Lightning) +600
John Carlson (Capitals) +900
Erik Karlsson (Sharks) +900
Morgan Rielly (Leafs) +1100
Seth Jones (Blue Jackets) +1100
Mark Giordano (Flames) +1200
John Klingberg (Stars) +1200
Roman Josi (Predators) +1200
P.K. Subban (Devils) +1400
Kris Letang (Penguins) +1400
Alex Pietrangelo (Blues) +2000
Drew Doughty (Kings) +2800
Torey Krug (Bruins) +2800
Thomas Chabot (Senators) +2800

*Odds taken on 10/12/19.

Rielly’s Norris trophy odds have improved the most since the lines were first posted, while former two-time winner Erik Karlsson has seen his odds lengthened by 33% after a dismal start to the season.

Is Rielly for Real?

Rielly led all defenseman in goals a season ago (20) and finished top-five in Norris trophy voting. He quarterbacks one of the league’s most talented power play units and he came flying out of the gates with 5 points in his first three games.

As positive as the offensive production has been, Rielly has struggled in the defensive zone. He’s a minus-3 during Toronto’s three-game winless streak, and he ranks last among Leafs d-men when it comes to preventing scoring chances. His plus-24 rating from a season ago feels like ancient history, and while many are quick to blame his blueline partners for his defensive struggles, the bottom line is he can’t win this award on offense alone. If he’s going to make a serious run at the Norris, his defensive metrics need to improve. Otherwise he’s a stay away.

The Case for Carlson

John Carlson’s offensive and defensive stats have improved in back-to-back seasons, and so far through five games he’s leading all defensemen in scoring.

Like Rielly, he plays on a team loaded with offensive talent which should result in plenty of points moving forward. Last season, he put up 70 points, and so far in 2019 he’s playing a career high 26:05 a game, which should translate to more opportunity. His advanced metrics are on pace with current favorite Brent Burns, and if the Sharks continue to struggle Carlson could find himself as the top contender very shortly.

Fade Karlsson

It may be early, but through the first few weeks of the season Karlsson looks nothing like the player that won two Norris trophies in four years.

He’s a minus-8 through four games and has only recorded a measly two points. His Sharks have just one win on the season and are last in the NHL in goals allowed and goal differential. He’s averaging over a giveaway per game, and in addition to not showing up on the scoresheet, he’s not accumulating blocks, hits or takeaways at a rate you’d normally expect from him.

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