- Erik Karlsson entered the season as favourite to win the Norris
- After slow start by the Swedish Star, the race for top d-man is wide open
- The best bet to bring home the hardware is …
Following the blockbuster trade of Erik Karlsson from the Ottawa Senators to the powerhouse San Jose Sharks, online sports betting sites installed the two-time Norris Trophy winner as the clear favorite to be the NHL’s best defenseman for a third time.
However, Karlsson hasn’t gotten off to the blistering start that everyone had expected, so that’s thrown the race for the Norris Trophy in flux.
Average 2019 Norris Trophy Odds
As you see in the graph above, there are four players currently tied for the best odds to win the Norris Trophy at +600.
Odds to Win 2019 Norris Trophy at Bovada
|Player||Odds to Win 2019 Norris Trophy Bovada|
*Follow the link in the table to see all options
Karlsson off to slower start than usual
Erik Karlsson hasn’t gotten off to as hot a start as he has in the past, but it’s not as if he isn’t capable of putting up big numbers in droves.
Last year he had just one goal through the first 26 games, yet the Swedish Dynamo finished with a stellar 62 points. The hockey community, however, is getting very antsy.
Thomas Chabot is now the NHL's 2nd highest scoring defenceman. He has twice as many points as Erik Karlsson, who currently owns the NHL's third worst plus minus.
— Steve Warne™🎙 (@TSNSteve) November 2, 2018
Erik Karlsson point totals last six seasons
|Season||Points Through 13 Games||Season Point Total|
Let’s not forget, though, this is Erik freaking Karlsson we’re talking about.
No, he’ll never win the best defensive defensemen award (if there was one), but he racks up so many points that it offsets his defensive liabilities.
People like to nitpick at great players, despite the fact they’re generational talents. Why? Because that’s the hockey culture. It’s never good enough. As Aaron Rodgers would say though, R-E-L-A-X.
Who else might challenge for the Norris Trophy?
A player that can’t be ignored is none other than Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman.
He was the Norris Trophy winner last year and the Bolts are rolling in the early season (8-3-1, tops in the East.)
If Hedman can return from his upper body injury soon, he will only boost the Lightning stock but also his own personal stock. Don’t forget, the last two seasons he’s had his highest career point totals: 72 and 63, respectively.
Off the Board pick for Norris Trophy
At the moment, Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly is tops in points by blue-liners with 16.
Morgan Rielly has a chance of becoming one of the best the Leafs have ever had on defence.
How he’s learning and getting better on that journey. https://t.co/9P3VZvh13z
— Jonas Siegel (@jonassiegel) October 31, 2018
He’s currently not even on the betting book at Bovada, but if he can keep his strong point production up, and Auston Matthews returns in a month to boost his offensive totals, the Leafs d-man would be a great darkhorse to take home the Norris Trophy.
The Best Bet to win the Norris Trophy
Erik Karlsson has a lot more time to feast on the relatively weak Pacific division, along with fellow blue-liner Brent Burns.
However, 17 of the last 19 Norris Trophy winners have played for East Coast teams, which despite what hockey writers might want to claim, matters.
Bet on Victor Hedman to take home the Norris Trophy for the second straight season.