TAMPA, Fla. (KDVR) — Colorado’s Cale Makar won the Norris Trophy awarded to the best defenseman in the league beating out Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman and Nashville’s Roman Josi.

“I watched quite a bit of those guys during the regular season and then even before I came into the league, as well,” Makar said before the Stanley Cup Final started. “It’s fun going against them. You get to see them. It’s awesome when you get to be on the ice with them.”

Makar was drafted fourth overall in the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft by the Colorado Avalanche. He played for two more years at the University of Massachusetts rather than jumping right into the pros. He won the NCAA Hobey Baker Award as the top men’s player and three days later, joined the Avs in Game 3 of the Western Conference first-round series against the Calgary Flames where he scored his first NHL goal in his first NHL game.

He won the Calder Trophy as the top rookie in the NHL in 2019-20 after finishing with 50 points in 57 games in the regular season, and 15 points in 15 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He was a finalist for the Norris Trophy last season but lost it to Adam Fox of the New York Rangers.

He’s been referred to as elite, special and the best but his play proves all of those accolades and now the honor of winning the Norris Trophy solidifies it.

“I just think this guy’s elite, and again the job he does for us offensively and defensively watching him play, how dynamic he is, I just think that he’s the best defenseman in the game right now,” coach Jared Bednar said.

Makar is the first Colorado Avalanche player to be awarded the Norris Trophy in franchise history.