Makar signs six-year contract to stay with Avalanche

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Cale Makar signed a six-year, $54 million contract with the Colorado Avalanche (average annual value $9 million) on Saturday.

The 22-year-old defenseman could have been a restricted free agent July 28. He scored 44 points (eight goals, 36 assists) in 44 regular-season games for the Colorado Avalanche this season and 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 10 Stanley Cup Playoff games.  

“I couldn’t be more excited knowing I’ll be calling Denver home for at least the next six years,” Makar said. “I will do everything in my power to bring a Stanley Cup to the best fans in the NHL. My Avalanche teammates are an amazing group of guys, and I can’t thank them enough as they played such a huge part in enabling me to perform at my best.

“I want to extend my appreciation to the Kroenke family, (Avalanche general manager Joe) Sakic and (assistant GM Chris) MacFarland for their longterm confidence and commitment to me. I also want to say thanks to Steve, Brian, and Scott of Bartlett Hockey for their guidance and work on this deal. I can’t wait to get back to work on October 13th at Ball Arena.”

Makar was a finalist for the Norris Trophy as the top defenseman in the NHL. He tied for the lead at the position in game-winning goals (three) and was fourth in power-play points (22). Makar finished second on the Avalanche in ice time per game (24:19) behind defenseman Devon Toews (24:46) and tied for first in takeaways (32) with Toews and forward Mikko Rantanen.  

Makar won the 2019-20 Calder Trophy as the top rookie in the NHL, when he scored 50 points (12 goals, 38 assists) in 57 games. The No. 4 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft has scored 94 points (20 goals, 74 assists) in 101 regular-season games and 31 points (seven goals, 24 assists) in 35 Stanley Cup Playoff games. His 94 points are the sixth-most by an NHL defenseman through 101 regular-season games behind Hockey Hall of Famers Harry Cameron (115), Mark Howe (112), Brian Leetch (99), Larry Murphy (97) and Phil Housley (95).

He is one of five defensemen in the past 50 years to be named an NHL First Team All-Star before his 23rd birthday (Erik Karlsson, 21 in 2011-12; Dion Phaneuf, 22 in 2007-08; Ray Bourque (19 in 1979-80 and 21 in 1981-82; Denis Potvin, 21 in 1974-75 and 22 in 1975-76).

“In just over two seasons, Cale has already established himself as one of the premier defensemen in the National Hockey League,” Sakic said. “His ability to play in all situations and at both ends of the ice makes him truly unique and we are excited to have him anchor our blueline for years to come.”

Avalanche goalie Philipp Grubauer and forward Gabriel Landeskog are among pending unrestricted free agents. Grubauer was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the top goalie in the NHL after going 30-9-1 with a 1.95 goals-against average, .922 save percentage and seven shutouts in 40 games (39 starts). Landeskog was named captain Sept. 4, 2012 at 19 years and 286 days, at the time the youngest in NHL history. 

NHL.com senior writer Dan Rosen contributed to this report

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