Colorado Avalanche prospect Cale Makar scored his first collegiate goal in a win against the Merrimack Warriors. He has 5 points on the season.
Colorado Avalanche prospect Cale Makar is the University of Massachusetts Minutemen’s best player. That isn’t a matter of my opinion — his head coach, Greg Carvel, waxes poetic about the defenseman, calling him “an elite player,” “the whole package,” “really impressive to see,” and, oh yeah, “the best player on the ice.”
Even opponent coaches are impressed with Makar. AIC head coach Eric Lang called him “scary,” remarking that opponents “tense up a little bit” when Makar gets the puck, adding “You can feel the crowd’s emotion.”
Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlink called Makar “a great playmaker,” and Wyatt Crosher of The Lantern (Ohio State’s newspaper) called Makar “the player to watch for UMass.”
Well, he certainly was the player to watch against the Merrimack Warriors in their October 27 game. One of them, anyway — Cale Makar was one of four Minutemen to score a goal in a 4-0 win over Merrimack.
Indeed, it was Makar’s first collegiate goal. Makar, who wears #16 for the UMass Minutemen, was pinching in deep as offensive defensemen are wont to do. He stopped in the slot as he saw the puck coming his way, and then this happened:
That’s a pretty site, seeing Makar beat the goalie gloveside.
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The goal was probably a relief for Makar. Previously, Makar had three assists in the first four games of the season. However, Carvel remarked after the game of his third assist that Makar might be gripping his stick. “I think he wants to score a goal, and he’s over-trying to score.”
Makar also earned an assist in the following game, a 5-3 loss to Merrimack.
Cale Makar was the Colorado Avalanche’s first-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, going fourth overall. That is the highest Colorado has ever chosen a defenseman.
Makar was always committed to playing for UMass, a commitment that didn’t waver even after he went so high in the draft. Colorado was content to let him develop at the collegiate level.
Makar will be eligible to sign a professional contract (without disrupting his NCAA status) with the Colorado Avalanche at the conclusion of UMass’ season, including if there’s a post-season for the team. (They were last in their conference last year but are 4-4 this year.)
Regardless of whether the Minutemen make the playoffs, I doubt Makar will sign with Colorado come spring. I think he’ll want to see another year through for UMass — he is, after all, their crown jewel. I think the Avalanche will be content to see him continue to develop at that level since he’ll still be a teenager (though he turns 19 today).
After that… I think they’re going to want Makar to start training for the pros. The Colorado Avalanche are going to want the services of their impressive young defensive prospect to be available — which can only happen if he’s signed.