The Norris Trophy is an often debated award within the NHL because everyone’s definition of the “best defenseman” is different. Is it the defenseman who is better at defending? Is it the defenseman who scores the most? Is it the most electric defenseman? Or maybe it’s given to the player with solid production and a compelling story?
Any of those narratives can be the leading cause behind a defenseman’s run to the position’s top award. Which makes betting on the Norris an opportunity to get a ton of value.
With a few weeks of the NHL season in the books, here’s how you can make some serious money betting on the Norris Trophy.
NHL Norris Trophy Smart Long-Shot Options
We all know that Cale Makar is the favorite to win the 2022-23 Norris Trophy. After winning it last season after putting up an impressive 28 goals and 86 points over 77 games, the Avalanche defenseman has eight points in his Sportsbook nine games for a 73-point pace.
Makar is tied for fifth in scoring among defensemen so far this season, three points back of leader Erik Karlsson, who has 11 points. Makar is following up that remarkable 2021-22 season with yet another strong year, which is why he’s still favored early.
But at +125, those odds aren’t great. Not to mention he’s not pacing out to have the same year he had in ’21-22. Where is some better value for the Norris Trophy? What long-shot bet should you be looking at?
Look, there’s a real precedent for long shots to win the Norris Trophy. Adam Fox opened at +3500 when he won in ’20-21. Roman Josi opened at +1600 in his Norris-winning season. Mark Giordano wasn’t even listed when he was named the top rearguard in the ’18-19 season.
Rasmus Dahlin - Buffalo Sabres (+1200)
The first overall pick in 2018 always had high expectations but after four years in Western New York, it seemed he’d never quite live up to those expectations. But with a smart retool, the Sabres are doing well and Dahlin is leading the way.
Early in ’22-23, Dahlin has five goals and 10 points in eight games. He is second in scoring among defensemen behind Karlsson, second in points per game (1.25) behind Justin Faulk, sixth in plus-minus (+7) and sixth in average ice time per game (25:19).
Dahlin is a top blue liner by any metric. Then you have to consider the story of Rasmus finally becoming the top D-man the Sabres drafted. If he keeps this up, the PHWA (who votes on the award) will have all the ammunition necessary to hand the young Swede the Norris Trophy.
Now, consider that Dahlin’s odds opened at +2200 and have since shifted to +1200 per sportsbook Sportsbook. You may have lost out on $1,000 of value from the Sportsbook odds, but you can still make $1,200 on a winning $100 bet for Dahlin today.
Noah Dobson - New York Islanders (+8000)
Since January 25, 2022, only Roman Josi, Cale Makar, Victor Hedman and John Carlson have more points from the blue line than Noah Dobson and his 43 points in 57 games.
That date is important because less than a month prior, Dobson was made a healthy scratch by then-head coach Barry Trotz for some uninspired play. Dobson was forced back into the lineup after a long-term Ryan Pulock injury. And the young Islander absolutely turned his season around, becoming that top-pair puck-mover the Isles drafted.
Through nine games, Dobson already has three goals and six points. While that’s not as many as Dahlin, it is a pace that he can maintain and even improve upon as the once defensively focused Islanders find their scoring touch.
Lane Lambert’s Islanders currently have the fifth-best offense in the NHL. If that offense continues through the rest of the season, Dobson’s production will benefit even more from it.
And at +8000, you can make a whopping $8,000 on a winning $100 bet.