Man it took way to long but the NHL finally did something right. The NHL notoriously gets these trophies wrong in my opinion, but after the Artemi Panarian “Rockie of the Year” a few years ago. Well, they got this one right.
Before the NHL draft in 2017, Cale Makar wasn’t in the top of 5, or top 15, or the first round when it came to scouting. He was projected to be a second round pick. Cale played 3 seasons for the Brooks Bandits of the AJHL before making a commitment to UMass-Amherst. He looked like a man among boys in Hockey East. It was a surprise to most when he was selected 4th overall by the Colorado Avalanche. Cale currently is the highest prospect to ever be taken out of the AJHL.
Despite being a blue chip prospect for the Avalanche, Cale held up to his commitment and played two solid seasons for UMass, despite them not making the playoffs. He put up 70 points in 75 games. He made his NHL debut in Game 3 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he became the first NHL defenseman to score a playoff goal in his NHL debut. He played 10 playoff games for the Avalanche that run, and scored 6 points.
It was not until last season he really popped off. Despite being held to 57 games, he put up 50 points with 12 goals. He also put up 15 points in 15 games for the Avalanche before they were eliminated. It feels like Cale has been around for a few seasons now with how sensational he is. Cale at just 21 is the sixth player to win the Calder Trophy for the Avalanche/ Nordiques. He joins Peter Stastny, Peter Forsberg, Chris Drury, Gabe Landeskog, and Nathan MacKinnon. Makar beat out Quinn Hughes and Dominik Kubalik for the trophy.
The future is bright in Colorado with Makar, Girard and Connor Timmins. You also cant forget Bowen Byram who is on his way, and more than likely on the Avalanche whenever the next seasons starts.