With the fourth overall selection the Colorado Avalanche selected 5’11” 170 pound defenseman Cale Makar from the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits.
Though the Erik Karlson comparisons are premature (and likely overatated), there’s no denying Makar displayed an extraordinary amount of talent last year on Brooks’ blue line. The AJHL may be considered a second-tier league among Canadian junior programs, but when you score 24 goals and 51 assists, teams take notice.
The Avalanche were among them, having been linked to Makar for the past couple of weeks. Avalanche director of player personnel Ron Hepple had nothing but glowing praise for the 18-year-old in his conference call with media this week. He was clearly a player they had targeted early on and were glad to see fall to their spot.
Makar is slated to play at the University of Massachusettes next season, potentially allowing him a similar development path to Colorado’s 2016 first round pick, Tyson Jost, who spent a year at the University of North Dakota after being drafted out of the BCHL. Jost is likely to begin 2017-18 in an Avalanche uniform and it’s not unreasonable to speculate about a 2018-19 full season debut from a defensive talent like Makar.
Here’s to hoping!
(More on this story as it develops.)