Frank Seravalli weighs in on the NHL Norris Trophy race: Canucks Conversation

Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Clarke Corsan
17 days ago
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal were joined by NHL insider Frank Seravalli to get his opinion on the Norris Trophy race — mainly between Quinn Hughes and Cale Makar.
Last week, the guys argued the race between Hughes and Makar is no longer close, especially with Hughes’ elevated play down the stretch. That take was met with nods from the Canucks fanbase, but…
“Outside of the bubble of this market, and after studying some of the metrics and numbers, I would say I’m leaning towards Quinn Hughes,” said Frank. “But to say, ‘This isn’t a debate, why are we talking about this, there’s only one candidate here’ – that’s not how people are viewing it outside of your bubble. What ends up happening, I have no idea, but I don’t view it quite as cut and dry as everyone else.”
“Offensively, the difference between Hughes and Makar is probably going to be negligible,” Harm digressed. “Where Hughes may separate himself from Makar this year is: A) he’s been substantially better defensively by every measure – whether it’s goals against, shots against, chances against. So you look at the defensive zone impact, and there’s a significant edge there. The second point voters should consider is that Makar’s results are likely propped up to some extent by Nathan MacKinnon. Almost 70% of Makar’s five-on-five ice time has been alongside MacKinnon, who’s probably the front-runner to win the Hart Trophy this year. Here’s the catch: Makar’s results fall off a cliff when he’s away from MacKinnon. When Makar is away from him 5-on-5, the Avs have been outscored. Quinn, on the other hand, doesn’t have a forward of MacKinnon’s calibre to play with, and his numbers are consistently elite regardless of who he’s with. That’s where Hughes has a decisive edge, but I can see why for people outside the market it’s close, even though I think it should be Hughes.”
The guys then alluded to the statistics from Hughes’ ice time with teammates other than Filip Hronek, stating that no matter who his defensive partner is, the results stayed the same, while Hronek’s play dropped off without Hughes.
“That’s another important data point to me as I consider this moving forward,” said Frank. “One of the things I’ve been wrestling with is what you try to do when you’re sizing up someone’s season – isolate some of the other factors when you can. Hughes has taken an enormous step forward this season compared to others in his career; what’s the biggest reason why?”
“He’s had a chance to play with Filip Hronek. Whereas in the past, outside his rookie year with Tanev, he hasn’t had a legit, top-4 calibre partner,” answered Harm.
“It has a lot to do with the coaching too,” noted Quads. “They’ve had a much better defensive system this year, which has helped Hughes a lot, which is why you still see those good results even if he’s not with Hronek.”
Harm continued: “Hughes’ numbers at five-on-five in 325 minutes away from Hronek are slightly better. [He] Outscored opponents 17-7 at five-on-five and controlled 61% of scoring chances, so his numbers have been elite with and without Hronek.”
You can watch the full segment in the video below: 

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