The Colorado Avalanche are busy battling it out for the Stanley Cup, but that didn't stop one of their players from being recognized on an individual level on Tuesday. During the NHL Awards ceremony, young Avs defenseman Cale Makar was named the 2022 Norris Trophy winner, edging out the likes of Predators' Roman Josi and Lightning defender Victor Hedman, via Frank Seravalli.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) June 21, 2022
Of all the trophy races this year, the Norris was one that figured to be among the closest. All three candidates enjoyed sensational seasons, but none had quite as big an impact on their team as the 23-year-old Makar. Currently leading his team in the Stanley Cup Final, Makar has proven without a doubt during the Avalanche's playoff run that he's the best defender in hockey.
Not only is he strong and a hard hitter, Makar is incredibly fast and has amazing puck-handling skills. He can set up his teammates with elite passes while also boasting the potential to fire a devastatingly well-placed slapshot into the top shelf.
In 2021-22, Makar racked up a career-high 86 points, scoring 28 goals and providing 58 assists across 77 games. He stayed hot in the playoffs, having thus far produced 26 points in just 19 games. In his third NHL season, Makar has cemented himself among the game's most elite players, regardless of position, and adding the Norris Trophy to his belt at such a young age bodes well for an illustrious future.
While he'll be ecstatic to have won the Norris Trophy and seen his hard work recognized on an individual level, Makar and the Avs are just two wins away from the ultimate prize; the Stanley Cup.