Tonight at the NHL Awards Show in Tampa, Roman Josi narrowly missed out on his 2nd Norris Trophy, despite ending the season with the most points by a defenseman (96) in 30 years.
Josi had been the favorite to win the league’s award for the top defensman since the puck dropped on opening night in October. Many expected him to win the award over challenger Cale Makar, who had an incredible season and broke many records (several of which were for his postseason play, which does not factor into the Norris Trophy voting).
But, in the end, the voting did not fall Josi’s way. He finished 2nd to Cale Makar, logging 1,606 points to Makar’s 1,631 points, in the Norris Trophy voting results.
Roman Josi finished in 2nd place in Norris Trophy voting. Lost by 25 votes.— Alex Daugherty (@AlexDaugherty1) June 21, 2022
Wow, that’s close. pic.twitter.com/1DOouLibzV
It was the closest Norris Trophy vote since 2012, when, incidentally, another Nashville Predators defenseman was robbed of the award. In 2012, Shea Weber finished in 2nd place to Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson. Weber had 1,057 votes compared to Karlsson’s 1,069 votes.
But this year’s vote shatters the 2012 vote in terms of robbery.
Roman Josi should have won the Norris Trophy this year and the reasons why he didn’t defy explanation.
PWHA’s Norris Trophy voting reveals flaws in system
You may notice in the above results that Roman Josi received 98 votes for 1st place, compared to just 92 1st place votes for Cale Makar.
Yet Makar ended up with more points in the award voting calculations, so he wins the award.
Real quick, here’s explanation on how the Norris Trophy points are calculated. Each voter is allowed to write up to five names on their ballot, in order of how they would award the vote. Each player is given rank points for their position on the ballot: 10 points for each 1st place vote, 7 points for 2nd place, 5 points for 3rd place, 3 points for 4th place, and 1 point for 5th place. It’s a very common “ranked voting” system and has been used for years in athletic awards voting.
So Roman Josi received 980 points for his 98 1st place votes, 532 votes for his 76 2nd place votes, and so on. Usually the player with the most 1st place votes has such an advantage in ranked points that he comes out on top.
But this year, the math worked out differently. This year, the defenseman with the 2nd most 1st place votes ended up winning the award.
This reveals a pretty gigantic flaw in the system. In no way should the “1st place” winner finish in 2nd, right? That’s… not what 1st place means.
I am not sure how you fix this system exactly (perhaps giving more points for 1st or maybe a carve out rule for winning if you receive most 1st place votes) but it seems flawed when something like this can happen.
But folks… that’s not even the most insane thing on this awards voting ballot.
One PHWA voter leaves Roman Josi off ballot
It’s hard to fault voters who did not put Roman Josi in 1st place on their ballot. Cale Makar had an amazing year. As did Victor Hedman and Charlie McAvoy.
In the end, it’s just one voter’s opinion over another.
But there is a PHWA voter out there who did not put Roman Josi anywhere on his or her ballot.
Makar was named on 195 ballots, while Josi was named on 194.— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) June 21, 2022
This sad soul, wherever they may be, did not think the defenseman with the most points by a defenseman in 30 years was better than FIVE other defenseman in the league.
That is not an opinion.
That is willful ignorance.
It’s not a curious bit of trivia.
It’s deceptive journalism and reveals a voter derelict in his or her duty.
The best offensive season by a defenseman in thirty years? Come on. I don’t care what you think of Roman Josi’s defensive abilities (they are, as it happens, better than Erik Karlsson’s when he won the Norris back in 2012), that’s an impossible stat to ignore.
Don’t want to put him in 1st place? Fine.
But you simply cannot leave him off the ballot. That’s insane.
The PHWA does publish their full voting ballots on their website. You can see last year’s voting here. So we will soon find out who didn’t put Roman Josi on their ballot and also who never needs to cover hockey again.
— Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports —