What can we hope for with Cale Makar?

Now that Tyson Barrie is gone, the question of whether Cale Makar will be able to replace his production is front and center. Many Avalanche fans have been quick to say that we can't expect Makar to replace Barrie's production right away. I actually agree with this and am not advocating that we have such expectations. However, I do want to point out that the numbers seem to tell a different story.

Before getting into that, I want to emphasize this is called "what can we hope for" and not "what can we expect" for a reason. Going from Hockey East to the NHL is a huge step up in competition and Makar's transition will likely come with some bumps in the road. That said, it wasn't a huge factor in the playoffs when Makar was scoring at a pace of 0.6 points per game against two of the best teams in the conference. Yes he was sheltered and had a ton of offensive zone starts, but let's remember that the guy he's replacing started over 64% of his shifts in the offensive zone last year. Sliding him into that type of role seems like the perfect recipe for success. He'll also likely assume Barrie's spot on the first PP unit, so he'll be able to put up some points in that role as well. Remember that he only had minimal PP time with the second unit in the playoffs and still scored at a nice pace. Hell, maybe he can replace a lot of the production the team is losing from the back end!

Those of you that took the time to read my trade Barrie post have seen these numbers before, but i figured this is a good time to post them again. In summary, I basically looked at the success of a few recent offensive defensemen that have transitioned from the NCAA to the NHL and compared their final year in college to their first full year in the NHL See below for the results.

Player College Season Games Played Points Points per Game Games Played Points Points per Game % of College Production (per game)
Butcher, Will Sr. 43 37 0.86 81 44 0.54 63.13%
Krug, Torey Jr. 38 34 0.89 79 40 0.51 56.59%
McAvoy, Charlie So. 38 26 0.68 63 32 0.51 74.24%
Shattenkirk, Kevin Jr. 38 29 0.76 72 43 0.60 78.26%
Werenski, Zack So. 36 36 1.00 78 47 0.60 60.26%
Average 66.49%
Makar, Cale So. 41 49 1.20 PPG Prediction 0.79
Points Prediction 64

Just in case this is set up in a manner that isn't super easy to read, here is a summary of what the data says Makar can do if his PPG (college vs NHL) drops off at the average pace.

  • Points per game: 0.79
  • Total points over a full season: 64
For reference, TB4 had his highest point total last season at 59 total points.

Granted this is a pretty small sample size and likely lacks predictability as a result, but it's the best I was able to do. It's also pretty consistent across the five players not named Makar, which might provide some comfort that it may be more insightful than the sample size suggests. I'll leave that to all of you to decide. In short though, the numbers predict a hell of a ride for Makar this year. It should be fun.

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