The NHL Awards season is officially in full swing.
The NHL announced the finalists for the 2022 James Norris Memorial Trophy on Monday morning, with Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman, Nashville's Roman Josi, and Colorado's Cale Makar each earning a nod as a finalist to be named the league's most outstanding defenseman.
Hedman should be paying rent as a finalist at this point. He's simply always here.
The 31-year-old has finished in the top three for Norris voting in each of the past six years, sprinkling in a win of his own during that time by taking home the award for back in 2017-18.
It's hard to argue with his results, either.
Hedman set career-highs in a number of offensive categories this year, scoring over a point-per-game with 85 points in 82 games, while also racking up 20 goals and a whopping 65 assists. Doing so while averaging 25 minutes per night in ice time, Hedman was his team's defensive anchor on the back-end, playing a crucial role while contributing at both ends of the ice.
Speaking of offensive production, Josi set a new standard for modern NHL defenders this season with an absurd 96 points in 80 games. While Josi's defensive metrics might not be as sterling as his fellow nominees, the ability to flirt with 100 points as a defender is a feat that many never believed would be done again, with Josi's 73 assists topping all other blueliners across the league, too.
Having already taken home the Norris back in 2019-20, Josi is looking to add yet another piece of hardware to his growing trophy case.
And then there's Makar, arguably the most dynamic young defenseman in the game, who put in quite the campaign of his own at just 23 years old.
While Josi flirted with a jaw-dropping points total, Makar did the same when it came to goal-scoring, nearly reaching the 30-goal mark as a defender for the first time since Mike Green's 31-goal effort in 2008-09.
Makar does everything for the Avalanche. He anchors the power play, logs nearly 26 minutes per night against top competition, and produces more offence than 90 percent of the team's forward corps.
With each finalist coming off a career-best season on a team that is still in the playoffs, the Norris is truly anyone's to grab this year.