Norris Trophy opening odds: Cale Makar favored to repeat
With the 2022-23 NHL campaign only about six weeks away, it's time to start digging into the futures markets.
Up first - at least on the player side - we'll be taking a look at the Norris Trophy odds.
Can Cale Makar become the first back-to-back winner since Nicklas Lidstrom in the 2000s, or will someone new claim the award?
Note: Only listed players 60:1 or shorter
Makar is understandably favored to defend his title. He put up 28 goals and 86 points over 77 games last season, and at just 23, he likely hasn't even reached his peak. Makar will play big minutes for a high-powered Avalanche side that should once again be among the league's best.
Josi is coming off by far the best season of his career, and at 32, it's fair to wonder if he can replicate it - especially considering he shot nearly 2% above his career average a year ago.
Fox is a terrific two-way defenseman. He'll likely lag well behind Makar in terms of production - particularly if the Rangers' power play regresses a little bit - and I'm not sure he can do enough to compensate, given Makar's strength as a defender and play driver.
McAvoy underwent surgery in June and received a six-month recovery timeline. The Bruins don't expect him to suit up until December, which will all but erase any chance he has of taking home hardware.
Rounding out the second tier is Ekblad. He put up 57 points in 61 games last season, and with MacKenzie Weegar now in Calgary, the Panthers will spoon-feed him all the minutes he can handle. Florida's blueline is shallow, which will undoubtedly leave new head coach Paul Maurice relying heavily on his workhorse.
Quinn Hughes and Miro Heiskanen are seen as the lead dogs in the third tier. Hughes produced at nearly a point per game clip in 2021-22 while setting career highs in assists (60) and points (68). But does he have another gear?
Meanwhile, Heiskanen looks poised to take another big step in Dallas. He is already one of the best defenders in the sport, and there's room for growth offensively with John Klingberg departing - more opportunities should come Heiskanen's way.
Then there's Moritz Seider, the last man standing below +3000. He put up 50 points as a rookie while providing above-average defense and some real physicality. The Red Wings will hope he continues to elevate his game as they improve the supporting cast around him.
Of the remaining players, Dougie Hamilton and Weegar are a couple who stand out.
Hamilton's debut campaign with the Devils never really got off the ground due to injuries. He put up 82 points over 102 games the two seasons prior, so there's plenty of reason to expect him to bounce back - especially given all the great young talent New Jersey has up front.
The Flames figure to be one of the higher seeds in the 2022-23 season. While Calgary's forward depth might have gotten a little worse, you could argue Weegar will be the best defender on an already great blueline. He should step in and make a big-time impact under Darryl Sutter.
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.