Cale Makar is only 23 years old and is already seen as one of the best players in the entire NHL. Cale Makar made history this season, being the only NHL player to win these 5 major trophies between College and NHL hockey.
In the 2018-2019 season, Cale Makar was a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he led his college to their first ever hockey east championship, and to the frozen four finals. In terms of individual stats, he put up 16 goals and 33 assists, 50 points which saw him come second in NCAA scoring behind Alex Limoges (50) and Taro Hirose (50). He broke his schools single season records for most points, and most assists by a defensemen. He was awarded the Hobey Baker award for his amazing season, the award is given to the best college hockey player each season.
The next season, 2019-2020, Cale Makar played the entire season with the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL. Makar had an amazing rookie season, scoring 12 goals and picking up 38 assists for a total of 50 points in only 57 games. The Avalanche made the playoffs that year, so he also picked up 15 points in 15 games during the 2019-2020 playoff with the Avalanche. The fourth overall pick of the 2017 draft started off his season with points in all five of his first five games. The Calder Trophy is awarded to the best rookie player in the league, voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Cale Makar was voted the winner, with Vancouver Canucks Quinn Hughes in second, and Chicago Blackhawks forward Dominik Kubalik coming in third. Makar is the only defensemen in Colorado Avalanche history to win the Calder.
The 2021-2022 season was by far the best of Cale Makar’s young career. Makar played 77 games in the 2021-2022 regular season, scoring 28 goals, picking up 58 assists, for a total of 86 points. Cale Makar broke the Avalanche’s single season record for goals by a defensemen, with his 28 goals. The Norris Trophy is given to the best defensemen in the regular season, each season. In only his third season in the NHL, Cale Makar was voted as the winner of the Norris Trophy by the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association, who awarded him with the Norris through voting. He received 1631 votes, only slightly edging out Roman Josi, who received 1606 votes, with Victor Hedman coming in third, receiving 940 points.
The most prestigious trophy in sports, the Stanley Cup. Cale Makar and the Colorado Avalanche steamrolled their way through playoffs, beating the Nashville Predators 4-0 in the first round, the St. Louis Blues 4-2 in the second round, and Sweeping the Edmonton Oilers 4-0 in the Western Conference finals. They were then off to face The Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup final. A crazy series, one of the most entertaining in recent years with the high flying Avalanche vs the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions, went to 6 games. The Avalanche edged the Lighting in overtime in games 1 and 4, won game 2 with a 7-0 blowout, and then winning game 6 by 2-1 with the winning goal scored by Artturi Lehkonen to win the Stanley Cup. Cale Makar played a huge role in this entire playoffs, and is now a Stanley Cup champion.
Conn Smythe Award
The Conn Smythe award is given to the most valuable player in a playoff run, won last year by goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, and the year before by defensemen Victor Hedman, both on the Tampa Bay Lightning. In the 2021-2022 playoffs, Cale Makar played in every single game (20) averaging 27:04 time on ice per game. He scored 8 goals, assisted 21 goals, for a total of 29 points in only 20 games. He blocked 43 shots, threw 28 hits, and had 24 takeaways. The Conn Smythe was award to Cale Makar, who was seen as the most valuable player for the Stanley Cup champions with his contributions both offensively and defensively through the entirety of playoffs.
Cale Makar is the first player in NHL history to be a recipient of all of these awards. He only played 5 seasons across across college hockey and the NHL, and has already won almost everything there is to win, at the age of 23. Cale Makar is on a team friendly contract, with a cap hit of only $9 million, which is certainly low considering he is one of the best players in the league, and not even in his prime yet. To put it in perspective, Drew Doughty has an AAV of $11M, Erik Karlsson has an AAV of $11.5M, and Connor McDavid has an AAV of $12.5M. Cale Makar has the potential to go down as one of the best defensemen, if not players, in NHL history if his career continues in this fashion.