The overwhelming favorite to win this award is Cale Makar, and for good reason. This kid continues to amaze fans on a nightly basis with his electric style of play, and has changed the way we view defenseman in the NHL. In only his third season, he has already solidified himself as one of the top defensemen in the league. What makes him so special is his ability to dissect the opposing team’s defense with his incredible puck handling while blazing down the ice, and he's doing this at a position that we don't see that from.
Makar has already taken home the Calder Trophy, so he is ready to start building his trophy case with plenty of awards in the future. If he continues to play like this, he's going to win the award, and he'll be in the running for years to come. He's a truly revolutionary player for his position.
Not many people are going to compete with Makar for this award, but Josi is probably his biggest competition. He was Makar before Makar: a scoring defenseman with good speed... he just didn't do it as well. Josi is no stranger to being in the Norris Trophy conversation, as he took home the award back in 2020. What sets Josi apart from other defensemen in recent years, is not only did he lead his team in points several times, but how close he was to hitting triple digits. The last NHL defenseman to hit the 100-point threshold was Brian Leetch during the 1991-92 season, and Josi hit 96 in 2021.
He's now in his 30's, but it seems that he has only gotten better with age, whereas most people in his position start to slow down. He's a beast, and he continues to be one of the best in the sport. At +750, he's worth a bet.
Hedman has been a consistent Norris Trophy favorite for what seems like forever, and he will make the Hall of Fame when he retires for sure. There isn't much more he can do to impress. The durability, the leadership, and the consistency have gotten him to this point, and he will always be in the conversation until he retires. The size and speed of Hedman make him one of the most talented players on the ice at any given time. He's a key piece to a team that has won multiple championships, and a bet on him is never a bad one.
They'll need Hedman to be great as they look to win another Stanley Cup this season, and he has been. Hedman is one of the leaders on the team in points, and he is always a threat to score as well with that powerful wrister.