NHL New Wave; Cale Makar
At this point, I could write “Calder Memorial Trophy Winner,” backward, upside down, and with my eyes closed. The 21-year-old Calgary native was selected fourth overall in 2017 by the Colorado Avalanche from the University of Massachusetts.
Makar (5-foot-11, 180 pounds) led all defensemen and finished sixth among all skaters in the Alberta Junior Hockey League with 75 points (24 goals, 51 assists) in 54 games and named Canadian Junior Hockey League top defenseman.
After several seasons in the minors, Makar joined the University of Massachusetts Minutemen in their program rebuild. He won rookie of the year as a freshman and earned All-Rookie Team and the Third All-Star Team. He led the league in scoring and finished second in his division, becoming the first UMass Minutemen to earn a nomination for the Hobey Baker Award. In April of 2019, Makar won the Hobey Baker, and two days later, he signed an entry-level contract with the Colorado Avalanche.
He made his NHL debut in Game 3 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Calgary Flames. Makar scored his first NHL goal on his first shot on the ice. This made him the first defenseman to score a playoff goal in his NHL debut. Cale has been compared to Erik Karlsson of the San Jose Sharks many times. Karlsson has been in the league since 2008 and is highly respected by players and fans alike.
“…we have similar tendencies. Just in terms of walking the line, breaking the puck out, and the way we jump up into the rush and read plays. He’s also a great leader and that’s a quality you need to have in order to be a champion.”Makar said
Cale and the Avalanche went two rounds in this year’s Bubble Playoffs only to fall short to the Dallas Stars.