The Colorado Avalanche signed 2019 Hobey Baker Award winner Cale Makar to a three-year, entry-level contract, the team announced Sunday.
The 20-year-old defenseman from the University of Massachusetts will join the Avalanche immediately for their first-round playoff series against the Calgary Flames.
The series, tied 1-1, resumes tonight in Colorado.
Makar, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, just completed his sophomore season. He helped the Minutemen reach the NCAA title game against Minnesota Duluth and became the school’s first player to win the Hobey Baker Award, college hockey’s top individual prize. The Minutemen lost to Duluth 3-0 on Saturday night.
“Cale obviously had a tremendous season, winning the Hobey Baker and getting his team to the Frozen Four,” Avalanche executive vice president and general manager Joe Sakic said in a statement. “He is a game-changing type of player who made a lasting impact on the UMass hockey program. We are excited to have him join our team.”
Makar ranked first nationally among NCAA defensemen with 49 points (16 goals, 33 assists) in 41 games this season.
The Calgary, Alberta, native was a unanimous selection as the Hockey East Player of the Year and earned first-team All-America honors.
Second straight for Duluth
Second-seeded Minnesota Duluth scored once in each period and killed a pair of third-period penalties to beat fourth-seeded UMass 3-0 in Buffalo, N.Y. on Saturday, claiming its second straight national championship.
Minnesota Duluth claimed its third national title in its history, after first doing so in 2011.
Bulldogs captain Parker Mackay opened the scoring on the power play at 3:51 of the first period, taking a pass from the point, deking and chipping a backhander inside the left post past Minutemen goaltender Filip Lindberg.
Mackay then set up the second goal, finding Mikey Anderson wide open in the slot, and Anderson buried a shot in the top right corner at 15:48 of the second.
After killing off two penalties in the third, Minnesota Duluth put it away with a short-angle attempt by Jackson Cates with 2:42 to play in regulation. The Bulldogs finished with a 31-18 advantage in shots, including a 25-12 edge through two periods, as goalie Hunter Shepard recorded the shutout.