Cale Makar is an NHL oddity.
The Avalanche rookie defenseman has but to play in a regular-season recreation, but he didn’t need to take part in rookie camp final week and his coach already has dubbed him as a top-pair man in what could possibly be the deepest blue line in membership historical past.
All of it provides as much as this: The 20-year-old Makar may certainly be the subsequent Erik Karlsson.
The second Makar scored a objective in his NHL debut April 15 in opposition to the Calgary Flames within the 2019 playoffs, his top-tier standing with the membership started. It was heightened within the subsequent 9 playoff video games when he added 5 assists in averaging about 18 minutes per recreation.
So Makar wasn’t requested to attend growth camp in June or rookie camp final week. He’s perceived as an skilled veteran — though he doesn’t really feel that approach.
“In my mind, I’m still trying to make the team,” Makar mentioned Friday after Day 1 of coaching camp at Household Sports activities Middle. “Nothing’s given and nothing’s taken without being worked for. It’s kind of what I’ll be working off.”
Coach Jared Bednar mentioned Makar has already earned it — regardless of falling 25 NHL regular-season video games wanting dropping his rookie standing.
“His status on the team already — he’s going to step into a 1-2 (top-paring) spot and play a lot of minutes for us in a bunch of different situations. And to me, that’s not something that’s been handed to him,” Bednar mentioned. “We decided to place him in a playoff recreation. He performed 14 half of minutes and was excellent. So the subsequent playoff recreation we ramped him as much as 20 and he was excellent. He was good by way of two rounds of the playoffs.
“So for those who can play within the hardest time of the 12 months in opposition to the most effective groups as groups get eradicated and also you’re nonetheless an impression participant on your crew, then that’s one thing that you just earn. He’ll have to come back out and earn it once more every day. Similar with all of our groups.
“That was our message to our group (Thursday) at check-in, that if we’re going to raise the standard and push the limits and make us better there has to be internal competition. You have to earn your ice time. He’ll be no different. But there’s no indication that he’s not going to do that for us.”
Makar performed 41 video games as a sophomore for the College of Massachusetts because the 2019 Hobey Baker Award winner as school hockey’s greatest participant. He signed with the Avs the day after the Minutemen misplaced to Minnesota-Duluth within the NCAA championship recreation.
He performed 34 video games as a UMass freshman and by no means greater than 54 whereas in junior-A with the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
Makar enters his first full skilled season centered on restoration and sustaining consistency.
“I’m leaning on a lot of these veterans and see what their routines are,” he mentioned. “It was my second year at UMass when I fully started to get in a routine of recovery and kind of turn more professional. So that’s going to be a big factor.”
Footnotes. The Avs’ high two traces spearheaded two teams Friday. Nathan MacKinnon centered Gabe Landeskog and Andre Burakovsky within the first session and wingers Tyson Jost and Joonas Donskoi labored with heart Nazem Kadri within the second. The Avs traded for Burakovsky and Kadri within the offseason and signed Donskoi in free company. … Russian winger Valeri Nichushkin, who was signed as a free agent Aug. 19, is hung up along with his U.S. visa and never as a result of report back to coaching camp till Saturday. Bednar mentioned he’ll do his physicals and off-ice testing Saturday and start skating Sunday.