Once upon a time, the Norris Trophy primarily went to wily veterans.
Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom was 30 when he won the first of seven Norris Trophies in 2001. Al MacInnis was 35 when he won his only Norris in 1999. Mark Giordano was also 35 when he won (2019). Zdeno Chara (2009) and Brent Burns (2017) were both 32 when they captured their only Norris. Victor Hedman (2018) and Roman Josi (2020) were both in their ninth NHL seasons when they won.
But it’s no longer the older the better for Norris candidacy. Adam Fox won the Norris after his second NHL season in 2021 and Cale Makar was in his third year when he won last season. Now folks are wondering whether Detroit’s Moritz Seider has a shot in his second year in the NHL.
“In his sophomore season, Mo Seider, without question, is a legitimate Norris Trophy candidate,” said Philly Hockey Now’s Sam Carchidi, a long-time voter on NHL Awards.
Seider at +2500 Odds
According to Sportsbettingdime.com, Seider opened with the ninth-best odds (+2500) to win the Norris. Makar is a +200 favorite to repeat, followed by past winners Josi (+600) and Hedman (+700).
Injured Boston defenseman Charlie McAvoy and Fox are tied for fourth at +800.
“I think Seider will have a place in the Norris conversation in 2022-23, and I think it’s entiely possible that he’ll win one or more as his career progresses,” said Hall of Fame hockey writer Dave Molinari of Pittsburgh Hokey Now, another long-time voter. “But in the short term, I believe the field of elite defensemen is simply too crowded to make him anything more than a long shot.”
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NHL Network analyst Stu Grimson, a former Red Wings’ player, has a similar perspective. He has said on the air that Seider should win a Norris at some point in his career.
“(But) is he capable of a Norris next year?,” Grimson said. “I’d say likely not.”
Grimson sees two issues for Seider: Developmental trajectory and timing.
“Bigger bodies take longer to develop,” Grimson said. “Yes, Fox and Makar inserted themselves into Norris discussion very early in their careers. However, these are guys that compete with more modest sized frames and they tend to be somewhat more agile. And that agility translates to point per game seasons for them very early in their careers. Not to mention these guys are making 20 goals from the blueline look routine. I believe Seider can be that caliber of player. It may take him another couple years or so to get there. He’s not the same threat to score as the elite guys yet. But he could be in time.”
Grimson also thinks it’s bad timing for Seider because the competition. Many of his top competitors are in their prime years or haven’t reached their prime years.
“Even when he does start to post numbers like the elites — Josi, Hedman, Makar, Fox — he may to have to do it when that group — and leave room for others to jump into that group — have modest seasons by their standards,” Grimson said. “The one advantage he has over this group in my view is that he plays a more physical game. I like that element of his game but the voters traditionally don’t put much weight on that intangible.”
Seider posted 50 points as a rookie, and that was 46 points behind Josi and 36 behind Makar. He will improve and the Detroit Red Wings will be better as a team.
“Cale Makar will be awfully tough to unseat, while Roman Josi, Adam Fox and Victor Hedman, among others, also figure to set the bar of excellence very high,” Molinari said. “Seider’s day will come, but I don’t expect it to be during the coming season.”
It’s difficult to know exactly what to expect this season from Seider because one of his strengths is exceeding expectations.
“The kid does it all, and he has great balance and always seems to be in perfect position,” Carchidi said. “Look for his production — which was already at a high level as a rookie — to increase as he gets more familiar with the league and his opponents. He’s already superb on the power play, and one of the things I like most about him is how he played with an edge as a rookie. Euro players have a reputation for disdaining contact. Not Seider. From here, he is going to be a top-five Norris candidate for the next decade.”