Going into the summer of 2017, the Colorado Avalanche prospect pool was in desperate need of high-end defensemen. Now, thanks to Cale Makar and Conor Timmins, the future of the blueline looks incredibly strong.
Some will say that the Avalanche went into the fourth overall pick last June ready to take a defenseman no matter what. It can be argued that guys like Elias Pettersson, Casey Mittelstadt, and Lias Andersson would have been the selection if you were drafting the best player available, but what can’t be argued is that Cale Makar is a very high-end prospect.
In this tournament, Makar has shown that he can be a high-end offensive defenseman, especially on the powerplay. He’s leading all defensemen in scoring and has shown an elite ability when skating with the puck on his stick.
It’s one tournament. A tiny sample size that should be taken with a grain of salt. That said, Makar has shown a lot of skill that should get Avalanche fans excited for the future.
He’s probably still more than a year away from making an impact at the NHL level. He might not end up being the 4th best player from the draft, but you can tell Makar is going to be a good one and he brings something to the Avalanche organization that was sorely missing.
The most amazing part of it all is that he’s probably been the second best Avalanche prospect on Team Canada’s blueline.
Conor Timmins was the 32nd overall pick in last June’s draft. He’s an all-around defenseman that has become one of the best in the OHL. He is among the point per game leaders in junior hockey over the past two seasons and the catalyst for a Sault Ste. Marie team that is the best in the CHL.
The best part about Conor Timmins is that while he can produce points at a high level, he can also be just as effective in other roles. He has been playing big minutes for Team Canada, especially on the penalty kill.
Timmins doesn’t have the flash of Makar - which is the reason he fell into the second round. He doesn’t “look pretty” on the ice, but he is incredibly effective.
He also doesn’t have the high-end potential of Makar. Avs fans should be very happy when he turns into a high-end #3-4 defender in the NHL. That said, he is currently further ahead of Makar in his development. Timmins has probably been Canada’s best defenseman at the World Juniors - and one of the top-3 or 4 in the whole tournament.
Yesterday, Makar and Timmins were selected by the coaches as two of the three Players of the Tournament for Canada, along with Senators prospect Drake Batherson.
The two 19-year old defensemen are looking to bring home a gold medal tonight in what Avalanche fans hope will be the first of many big wins together.
If a year ago, you had told Colorado Avalanche fans - or even the organization - that they would have one of the top defensemen in this year’s World Juniors they would have been ecstatic. If you told them they’d have two, they probably wouldn’t believe you. And if you told them the organization would have three 19-year old defensemen with the talent of Timmins, Makar, and Samuel Girard, they almost certainly would have you tested for drugs.
The future is very bright for the Avalanche blueline. Tonight, you can get a glimpse of that future in the Wolrd Junior gold medal game. It will be airing on NHL Network (TSN in Canada) at 6pm MST.