State Your Case: Quinn Hughes, Josi or Makar for Norris Trophy

The Norris Trophy is given annually to the top defenseman in the NHL as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association

This season, Quinn Hughes of the Vancouver Canucks, Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators and Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche are the finalists.

The award will be given to one of these defensemen during the NHL Awards on June 27 at the Fontainebleau in Las Vegas (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, SN).

While we wait to find out the winner, writers Adam Kimelman, Mike Zeisberger and Mike G. Morreale debate the merits of each finalist in this Awards edition of State Your Case.

With all due respect to Cale Makar and Roman Josi, the Vancouver Canucks defenseman was the best in the NHL this season for a team not many predicted would finish second in the Western Conference. In his first season as captain of the Canucks, Hughes played a huge role by leading all players at his position with 92 points, 75 assists and 17 primary power-play assists while averaging a team-high 24:41 in 82 games to help Vancouver (50-23-9) to its first 50-win season since 2011-12. He’s the sixth defenseman in NHL history to have at least 92 points in a season by the age of 24 or younger, and had nine games with at least three assists, something only two others at the position have done in a single season: Bobby Orr (four times) and Ray Bourque (1993-94). Here’s another stat that boggles the mind: Hughes is already second on the Canucks’ all-time scoring list among defensemen with 333 points in 365 games. Alexander Edler is first with 409 points in 925 games. Hughes also set the Canucks record for plus-minus in a single season (plus-38). Fact is, Hughes is one of the best skaters in the League, and that includes all positions, and his hockey IQ gets better and better with age. Additionally, Vancouver controlled 56.4 percent of all shots generated 5-on-5 when Hughes was on the ice this season, which ranked higher than Makar (52.8) and Josi (53.4). — Mike G. Morreale, senior draft writer

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