Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar called into NHL Network to talk about his experience as a rookie in the league.
The Colorado Avalanche are riding high on the Cale Makar train.
Ok, that was a mixed metaphor. Anyway, we’re all utterly delighted in our “consolation prize” for losing the draft lottery in 2017. Because as fine as the three players are who went before Makar in the 2017 NHL Draft, Makar may well be the best of the bunch.
In fact, his fresh, rosy-cheeked face is fast becoming one of the faces of the franchise. The Avalanche even sent him on the official NHL Media Tour in September.
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Recently, Makar was named Rookie of the Month for November. He earned 16 points (7 goals, 9 assists) in 14 games — three of his goals were game winners.
Well as part of all that hullaballoo, Makar spoke with NHL Network about some of his experiences.
One aspect of Makar’s game that especially stands out is his skating. In fact, over the summer. Scott Wheeler of The Athletic broke down a couple games of Makar’s in terms of his skating. I highly recommend it because of the insight it offers into that particular ability.
Anyway, during the phone interview with NHL Network, he was asked about the development of his skating ability. Interestingly, Makar did attribute some of his skill to “natural abilities” — he’s obviously an ultra-talented skater. However, he did also talk about the fact that he had to work on the skill. He did a lot of power skating with both his teams and his brother.
He concluded that you just have to work on your skating to find the stride you like.
Previously, the most common path to the NHL for North American players was through major juniors. However, more and more players like Makar are going the NCAA route. During his Instagram Live post, he talked about taking the college route as an “undersized player.” (Makar is listed as being 5-foot-11, 187 pounds, but some of his hits suggests he’s bulked up some.)
With the NHL Network, he talked about how the college route would give him “a little bit more time to develop.” He added:
"“I kind of found those skills that I needed to move to the next level. Whether it was playing against bigger and older guys every night or just having more time to physically mature at the gym and off the ice.”"
Makar did indulge in a bit of humor when he was asked about what the Colorado Avalanche can do better to “take that next step.” He quipped, “Probably be healthy.” The Avs’ injury woes are well-documented.
However, he did see that ultimately the Avalanche need to work on consistency:
"“We have a lot of games where we’re up and down. But I think it’s just going to be playing well consistently defensively.”"
Well, he’s certainly not wrong about that.
Anyway, Cale Makar went into greater detail on a number of topics — watch the full interview here:
He gives some interesting insight into his upbringing, too.
It’s important to remember that Cale Makar is 21 years old and a first-year player. He’s going to have his ups and downs with the Colorado Avalanche.
But, boy, so far his ups have been a thing of beauty.