Hughes, Josi, Makar finalists for Norris Trophy

Hughes, Josi, Makar finalists for Norris Trophy

Quinn Hughes, Roman Josi and Cale Makar are finalists for this year’s Norris Trophy, the NHL announced Wednesday.

The Norris is awarded annually to the “defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.”

This is the first Norris Trophy nomination for Hughes, who paced all NHL defensemen this season in assists (75) and points (92) along with 17 goals in 82 games while averaging 24:41 TOI.

The Vancouver Canucks captain guided his team back to the postseason as one of the Western Conference’s top clubs, ranking sixth in offense (3.40 goals per game) and allowing the sixth-fewest goals against (2.70). Hughes, 24, also ranked second among league defensemen in power-play points (38) for the Canucks’ 11th-ranked unit.

Josi, 33, previously won the Norris following his 2018-19 campaign, marking the first time a Swiss-born skater had taken the trophy. This season started off slowly for the Nashville Predators captain, but Josi found his form and executed at a customarily elite level down the stretch. He led NHL all blueliners in goals (23) and was third in points (85) this season while averaging 24:38 TOI.

Josi’s surge from late November onward propelled Nashville into the NHL’s postseason wild-card race, and the Predators made it back into the playoffs with the league’s 14th-ranked defense (3.02 GA/G).

Colorado Avalanche blueliner Makar, 25, won his first Norris following the 2021-22 season, when Colorado also won the Stanley Cup. Makar was a standout on the blue line again this season with 21 goals and 90 points in just 77 games, both second among league defensemen.

Although Makar missed time battling injuries, he managed to produce consistently when available to lift Colorado through some difficult patches of its season. Makar still averaged 24:46 TOI for Colorado and was a spark on their fifth-ranked power play, pacing all blueliners with 38 points on the man advantage. He racked up four short-handed points as a key member of the Avalanche’s penalty kill.