It didn’t take Cale Makar long to become a superstar.
Makar is a favorite to win the Norris Trophy. Betting sites have him as the most likely player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy for the MVP of the NHL’s postseason and beginning Wednesday night in Denver, he’ll be a key piece of the Colorado Avalanche’s quest to win the Stanley Cup against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
At age 23, just three years after winning the Hobey Baker Award and leading UMass to the program’s first Frozen Four, he’s one of the best players in the best hockey league in the world.
On the eve of the start of the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Makar credited some of his early success to his time at UMass and his decision to stay with the Minutemen for a second season.
“For me, going into college, my goal was that two-year plan. Coming out of my first year there were talks about me coming to the Avalanche. But overall I thought that there were aspects of my game that weren’t developed enough yet. Defensive aspects and stuff,” he told NHL Tonight. “I felt like that second year would work wonders for me.
“We were fortunate at UMass to have an incredible team and we made a very long run,” Makar continued. “I learned so much as a player on the ice and as a person off the ice. For kids growing up nowadays, It’s never a bad idea to be overripe going into a different league.”