Skip to content

Norris Trophy Power Rankings: Fox beginning to separate himself

Jared Silber / National Hockey League / Getty

Welcome to the fourth edition of theScore's Norris Trophy Power Rankings.

These rankings focus on analytics and the all-around ability of defensemen based on this season's results rather than just points or reputation.

  • xGF% = the share of expected goals a team produces while a player is on the ice at five-on-five
  • GF% = goals for percentage at five-on-five
  • GAR = goals above replacement-level player

This edition dates back to March 25.

5. Jakob Chychrun, Coyotes

Norm Hall / National Hockey League / Getty

Previous ranking: Not ranked

50 16 20 23:13 51.42 6.6

Who had Chychrun leading all NHL blue-liners in goals? Probably nobody. He's second on his team among all skaters in goals and points, too.

The 23-year-old is doing more than just producing offense, though. He's surpassed Oliver Ekman-Larsson as Arizona's No. 1 D-man, leading the team in ice time. His underlying numbers aren't quite elite, but they're impressive when you consider he plays for a poor team.

4. Dougie Hamilton, Hurricanes

Gregg Forwerck / National Hockey League / Getty

Previous ranking: Not ranked

49 8 31 22:50 56.2 7.5

As a pending unrestricted free agent, Hamilton is playing himself into a handsome payday. He's racked up 14 points in 18 games with a 60.3 xGF% since the last edition of these rankings.

He ranks in the top 20 among defensemen in xGF% this season, and he and his partner Jaccob Slavin - who is also excellent - usually take on tough matchups. The Hurricanes are still a great team without Hamilton on the ice, which hurts his case a bit, but they're undoubtedly better when he's out there.

3. Charlie McAvoy, Bruins

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Previous ranking: Not ranked

44 4 22 24:20 58 10.5

McAvoy's spot on this list may cause some disagreement since he's not as dynamic offensively as other rearguards, but he's still playing at a near 50-point pace over 82 games. However, his ability to defend and transport the puck up the ice is among the best in the game.

Without McAvoy on the ice, Boston's GF% and xGF% drop by nearly 10 percent. He's carrying an unheralded Bruins blue line.

2. Cale Makar, Avalanche

Michael Martin / National Hockey League / Getty

Previous ranking: Not ranked

35 5 30 24:11 59.42 12.5

There's a fair argument that Makar doesn't belong on this list, considering he missed 12 games due to injury. What he's done since his return from injury - and on the year as a whole - make him worthy, though.

Not only is Makar playing at a point per game pace, but his underlying numbers are off the charts, too. His xGF% is in the top 10 among defensemen, and he still leads all blue-liners in GAR despite the missed time.

1. Adam Fox, Rangers

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Previous ranking: 3

49 5 42 24:37 55.7 8.7

Fox is beginning to run away with the award - at least he should be, anyway. Not only does he lead all defensemen in points, but his underlying numbers further demonstrate just how valuable he's been this season.

With Fox on the ice, the Rangers' GF% and xGF% sit at 61.3 and 56.2, respectively. Without him, they each fall by over 10 percent. Those aren't inflated by his usage, either, as he draws tough assignments, and his offensive zone start percentage is just 46. He's also carried his partner Ryan Lindgren - who has struggled mightily without Fox.

Honorable mentions: Shea Theodore, Sam Girard, Devon Toews

Why Hedman's omitted

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

It's fair to wonder why Victor Hedman, the consensus top defenseman in the league, is absent from this list - especially considering he's second among blue-liners in points.

With Hedman on the ice, the Lightning have a 50.6 GF% and 51.3 xGF%. Without him, their GF% is up to 59.2 and xGF% is 54.1. Hedman doesn't even draw the toughest assignments, as Ryan McDonagh's pairing generally handles those.

Hedman's underlying numbers have gotten worse since the previous edition of these rankings, as his GF% and xG% are 38.9 and 48.4 in the last month, respectively.

He's likely still the best defenseman in the game, but that just hasn't been the case this season - especially of late.

(Analytics sources: Natural Stat Trick, Evolving Hockey)

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox