Adam Fox, Victor Hedman, and Cale Makar were announced Wednesday as the 2021 NHL Norris Trophy Finalists, as voted upon by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
Adam Fox of the New York Rangers exploded onto the scene in 2019 with 42 points in 70 games. Before cracking an NHL roster, he played two seasons on the U.S. National Team Development Program. Fox finished with the record for both the most assists in a single season and the most assists in a career. One word to describe Fox’s playing style is cerebral; he sees the game like few others. His ability to make plays in the corners, cleanly break out of the defensive end, and keep the puck in the offensive zone (to name a few) are world-class. He is truly a fun player to watch and will remain an asset to the Rangers for a long time.
Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning is one of the NHL’s most consistent elite defenders and has been for several years. He’s a member of a rare breed of massive, skilled, and surprisingly nimble defensemen such as players like Brent Burns and John Carlson. Even without looking at Hedman’s metrics, it’s easy to observe the talents of his premier lockdown defense. Someone of his stature as well as his numbers is reminiscent of Zdeno Chara in his prime Cup-winning years.
Finally, the third nominee is Cale Makar. Makar has been a standout talent since his rookie year in 2017. This is the first time he’s been considered a Norris Trophy finalist, and with good reason. Makar has played 44 regular season games in 2020-21 and has 44 points to show for it. As aforementioned, the beautiful thing about the sport of hockey is the minutiae you can’t gather from statistics. His offensive talent makes it seem he is a top 6 forward from the way he moves the puck. His skating is silky smooth, he makes pristine passes up-ice to one of the fastest players in the NHL in Nathan Mackinnon, and he can make opposing defenders bite, hook, line, and sinker with his stick handling. With all of this in mind, Cale Makar is one of the most deserving Norris Trophy candidates for the 2020-21 season.