Joe Sakic and the Colorado Avalanche got the guy they were after. Defenseman Cale Makar from the Alberta Junior Hockey League was still available when the Avs spot came up in Friday night’s 1st round of the 2017 NHL Draft, and he was the selection Colorado made at No. 4 overall.
Makar, 18, is coming off his third and final season in the AJHL playing for the Brooks Bandits and is committed to play college hockey at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) in the fall. He will likely play on a year-by-year basis as the Avs monitor his play and development much like they did with last year’s first round draft pick Tyson Jost who played at North Dakota this past season.
He is considered by many scouts to be one of the best skaters in the draft and a potential Norris Trophy candidate down the road. If he turns out to be what the Avs hope he is, they could have their version of a Drew Doughty or Erik Karlsson on the blue line with this pick. At 5’11” he isn’t the biggest guy especially playing defense, but he already has the build at 185 lbs. to play a pro style game.
Cale’s vision at the point is what makes him such a highly touted prospect. One comparison made during the draft coverage is that he is like Chris Paul on hockey skates. Paul has a vision on the basketball court unlike anybody else that plays in the NBA. Makar has that type of vision and hockey sense, and if he learns how to being that to the quicker NHL, he could end up being one of the best defensemen to come out of an NHL draft in recent memory.
The Avs also hold the No. 32 overall pick, which will be the first pick of Saturday’s 2nd round. Thoughts are they will target a goalie at some point early in this draft, but it isn’t known exactly what position they would be looking at with this next pick.
Also, on the trade front, Colorado talked with a handful of teams regarding Matt Duchene and possibly Tyson Barrie over the course of the day, but nothing has progressed from those talks and will keep listening to offers throughout the week leading into free agency. Matt Duchene’s time with the Avs seemed like it was coming to an end, but now there is a feeling that he may stick around — at least going into next season.
Joe Sakic definitely has his price when it comes to trading Matt Duchene, and he’s not budging off of that. That is the good news. The somewhat bad news is that nothing has happened to this point, and it has fans and media around the team a littel worried.