Not even a full day after a loss in the NCAA championship game with the UMass Minutemen, Cale Makar has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Colorado Avalanche worth $925,000 a season. The fourth overall pick from 2017 will join the Avalanche immediately and could play as soon as Game 3 in Colorado on Monday night.
Makar had one of the best seasons in NCAA hockey history. He was tied for the lead in NCAA scoring with 49 points as a defenseman and was named the winner of the 2019 Hobey Baker Award on Friday night. As far as individual accolades go, the list is endless:
- Hockey East Player of the Year
- Hockey East First Team All-Star (unanimous selection)
- New England Player of the Year
- CHN Player of the Year
- Most Outstanding Player of Northeast Regional
- Northeast Regional All-Tournament Team
- New England’s Best Defenseman & MVP
- CCM/AHCA First Team All-American
- 2019 Hobey Baker Winner
Makar’s decision last year to return to UMass for his sophomore season has paid dividends. He established himself as the best player in NCAA hockey and it was obvious as the season wore on that this would be his final year of college. Not only did he set new records for points and assists by a UMass defenseman, he was instrumental in leading the Minutemen to their first regular season championship. He found another gear once the playoffs began, leading UMass to its first Frozen Four berth in program history.
i keep coming back to "when cale makar was on the ice, umass's goal difference jumped almost 800 percent" ... i don't even know what to do with that.— ryan lambert (@twolinepass) April 14, 2019
Makar joins Dante Fabbro (Nashville) and Quinn Hughes (Vancouver) as defensemen to jump from the NCAA to the NHL this season. He’s the first defenseman since Charlie McAvoy in 2017 to jump straight from the NCAA to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Aside from position, what separates McAvoy from the rest is that he was the only player to jump straight from NCAA hockey to NHL playoff hockey. He played all six games for the Bruins in the first round, as they lost to Ottawa. And he didn’t shrink from the challenge, either — he put up three assists in those six games. [Mile High Hockey]
Makar will burn the first year of his entry-level contract by playing in a game with the Avalanche. Here’s how it will work as far as protection for the expansion draft:
2. As soon as Makar plays one game for COL in playoffs, he needs to be protected in SEA expansion draft. If he signs contract, first year burns immediately. If he doesn’t play in a 2019 playoff game, he doesn’t need to be protected in expansion draft. If he plays one, he does.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) April 14, 2019
Of course, there is a possibility that Makar could sign his ELC and head off to play for Canada at the World Championships instead. But with Colorado currently tied 1-1 in their first round series against Calgary, it looks like the #AvsNeedMoreCale (or is it the #AvsNeedCaleMore?).
Makar is coming, Avs fans. Whether it’s this season or next, watch out.
Everyone knew @Cmakar16 was a talented hockey player. What we learned during his time with @UMassHockey is he's an incredible person and leader! After a gut wrenching loss Cale took his customary spot greeting his squad an emotional farewell.— Nathaniel Easton (@NathanielEaston) April 14, 2019
Thank you Cale. Thank you! pic.twitter.com/ioLPF5rwTU