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  • Who are the top contenders for the 2019 NHL Norris Trophy?
  • Look at odds for individual players, plus additional league and conference-specific trends from past years
  • Track and with a player’s odds as they get longer and shorter throughout the 2018-19 NHL season

The James Norris Memorial Trophy (known as the Norris Trophy) is given every year to the defenseman that exhibits the best all-around ability at his position.  Members of the hockey media determine which player takes home the award at season’s end.

We’ll be tracking odds on the top Norris Candidates available online sportsbook all season long, providing you with comprehensive coverage on how futures odds fluctuate for different defenseman around the league.

Victor Hedman won the Norris Trophy in 2018 for being the most important player on (debatably) the league’s most dominant team last season, the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 6’6 Swede has demonstrated his defensive acuity since he stepped into the league at the age of 19, but it’s his offensive breakout in the last two years (72 points in 2016-17 and 63 points in 2017-18) that’s solidified his position as a perennial Norris Contender.

However, winning a Norris in consecutive years is difficult. No one’s done it since Nicklas Lidstrom won the award three consecutive years in a row (2005 to 2008). Will Hedman join his Swedish countryman and be the first repeat winner since 2008? Or will the award go another superstar Swedish defense phenom? Stay tuned!

NHL Norris Trophy Top 5 Contenders (October 1st, 2018)

Player Bovada Odds (10/01/2018)
Erik Karlsson (San Jose Sharks) +250
Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay Lightning) +400
Seth Jones (Columbus Blue Jackets) +650
Brent Burns (San Jose Sharks) +650
Drew Doughty +900

In the 2017-18, Erik Karlsson dealt with a putrid Ottawa Senators roster, acute lockerroom drama that culminated with Mike Hoffman’s trade to Florida, myriad issues with penny-pinching owner Eugene Melynk, and a lingering ankle injury.  He still put up 62 points in 71 games. When he’s on his game, there’s no question that Erik Karlsson is the most talented defenseman in the game, and he may well be the best player in the league when he’s firing on all cylinders. We’re expecting a massive season from Karlsson this year.

Karlsson is playing for his third Norris, and we’d say that he deserves to be the favorite and then some. He’s had a full off-season to recover his ankle,  a fresh start in a San Jose market that isn’t the pressure-cooker Ottawa was, and he’s an impending UFA playing for a retirement contract. Plus, his project defense partner in Marc-Edouard Vlasic is without a doubt the best he’s had in his career so far, which will afford Karlsson even greater opportunity to exercise his offensive creativity.

There’s a lot of reasons to be bullish on Erik Karlsson, and even with such short odds (average +250), we think he’s a value bet.

However, keep on eye on Morgan Reilly. He’s had the best start (points wise) of any defenseman in the modern era. Yes, that includes the likes of Bobby Orr.

NHL Norris Trophy Trends to Consider

  • It’s essential that a defenseman not miss anytime to injury. In the last 10 years, the most games missed by a Norris Trophy winner was 6, when PK Subban sat out the first games of the 2012-2013 season in a contract holdout. 
  • Players essentially need to be on playoff teams to win the Norris. No player has ever won the Norris on a non-playoff team, dating back to the award’s inception in 1954.
  • It isn’t an offense only award. If a defenseman is going to win the Norris, they need to demonstrate an ability (both via the eye test and with quantitative metrics) to play at an elite level in all facets of the game. This includes the power play, the penalty kill, and even-strength play. 

2019 Norris Trophy Odds for Previous Winners

As you can see, the majority of Norris Trophy favorites are previous winners. Two-time winner, Duncan Keith, is still active in the NHL but thanks to a meteoric drop in his play at the age of 35, he isn’t a consideration for the Norris. His time as a contender for the trophy is firmly in the rear view mirror.

2019 Norris Trophy Odds for Western Conference Players


The majority of Norris Trophy candidates this season play in the West. Seth Jones is set to miss the first six weeks of the season with a knee injury, effectively wiping out his chances of capturing the Norris this season.

2019 Norris Trophy Odds for Eastern Conference Players


The second shortest odds for the Norris belong to Victor Hedman, who will likely play with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the East for the duration of his career. We still like Karlsson over Hedman for this season, but its extremely likely that Hedman will go home with another Norris before the conclusion of his career.

Last 10 Norris Trophy Winners

Year Player Games Played Goals Assists Points Age
2017-2018 Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay Lightning) 77 17 46 63 27
2016-2017 Brent Burns (San Jose Sharks) 82 29 47 76 31
2015-2016 Drew Doughty (Los Angeles Kings) 82 14 37 51 26
2014-2015 Erik Karlsson (Ottawa Senators) 82 21 45 66 24
2013-2014 Duncan Keith (Chicago Blackhawks) 79 6 55 61 30
2012-2013 PK Subban (Montreal Canadiens) 42 (Lockout-Shortened Season) 11 27 38 23
2011-2012 Erik Karlsson (Ottawa Senators) 81 19 59 78 21
2010-2011 Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit Red Wings) 82 16 46 62 40
2009-2010 Duncan Keith (Chicago Blackhawks) 82 14 55 69 26
2008-2009 Zdeno Chara (Boston Bruins) 80 19 31 50 31

The median age of Norris winners in the last ten years is 28. The youngest winner over the previous ten years was the current favorite, Erik Karlsson, who was only 21 when he won the Norris in his third NHL season.

 Players With Multiple Norris Trophies

Bobby Orr, Doug Harvey, and Nicklas Lidstrom are commonly regarded as not only some of the best defenseman to ever play in the league but also some of the best players to ever play the game. This is reflected in their absurd Norris Trophy totals.

Nicklas Lidstrom’s career was especially remarkable, as he never missed the playoffs once in his 20 season career. His durability was equally remarkable, as prior to missing 12 games in his final season at the age of 41, the most regular season games he had missed in a season was 6.  In total, he played a total of 1564 regular season games, on top of 263 playoff games.

Player Norris Trophies
Bobby Orr 8
Doug Harvey 7
Nicklas Lidstrom 7
Ray Bourque 5
Chris Chelios 3
Paul Coffey 3
Pierre Pilote 3
Denis Potvin 3
Erik Karlsson 2
Duncan Keith 2
Rod Langway 2
Brian Leetch 2
Larry Robinson 2

If you’re searching for more odds on the major NHL individual awards, check out both 2019 Hart Trophy odds tracker and our 2019 Vezina Trophy odds tracker.