Norris Trophy odds update: Splitting hairs up top
We have reached the All-Star break, which is looked at as an unofficial midway point of the season.
Perhaps more than any other major award, the Norris Trophy remains completely up for grabs. A handful of players have put together strong cases for the hardware but nobody is running away with it ~50 games into the year.
Let's take a look at where the market stands and how things have changed since prior to puck drop on the 2022-23 campaign.
|PLAYER||FEB 2 ODDS||SEPT 14 ODDS|
Leading the group is Erik Karlsson, who is producing at the highest rate of his entire career at age 32. Karlsson is playing for a mediocre San Jose Sharks team that ranks 20th in scoring efficiency league-wide. He has managed to put up 16 goals and 66 points over 51 games; a 27-goal, 106-point pace. He leads all defensemen in Goals Above Replacement despite his defensive game being graded at a net-negative.
Hot on his tail is the pre-season favorite Cale Makar. He has been unseated through no fault of his own. Despite the Colorado Avalanche being crushed by injuries, Makar has averaged more than a point per game while driving play and logging more than 27 minutes of ice on a nightly basis. He has been a huge factor in keeping the Avalanche afloat.
Rounding out the big four are Adam Fox and Rasmus Dahlin. Fox is producing at a point-per-game clip and ranks second among NHL defensemen in average Game Score.
Meanwhile, Dahlin is producing at a 92-point clip and serving as Mr. Everything for a Buffalo Sabres side that finds itself in the thick of the wild card race.
Of the group, Karlsson might be most vulnerable of slipping. His defensive game has holes and he plays for a bad team that will only get worse when the likes of Timo Meier (likely) get shipped out. If his production falls off, he doesn't have a leg to stand on the way the others do.
With regards to longer shots, Dougie Hamilton is probably the guy carrying the most value. He is tied for third among blue-liners in goals, flirting with a point per game, and owns a +19 goal differential at five-on-five. This while playing big minutes against quality competition for a New Jersey Devils team that sits fourth in the league, a spot nobody predicted they'd hold this far into the season.
If he can raise his production just a hair in the second half, while Karlsson's perhaps falls off, his numbers figure to be every bit as good as the rest of his competition. The difference will be Hamilton is viewed as a super long shot in the market while you have to pay a premium to back the others.
After the +4000 range, things really fall off. Quinn Hughes plays for a tire fire in the Vancouver Canucks, Charlie McAvoy missed too much hockey, Victor Hedman is having a down season, and the others don't produce enough.
This looks like a five-horse race, with Hamilton being the most likely to jump in and make it six.
Buckle up; it's going to be a wild race to the finish.
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.
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