Avalanche Defenseman Cale Makar Wins Calder Trophy

Photo: NHL via Getty Images

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Maker was awarded the 2o19-20 Calder Trophy on Monday night. The trophy is awarded each year to the league’s best rookie. Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes finished second and Chicago Blackhawks forward Dominik Kubalik finished third in the voting.

Voting for the 2019-20 Calder Trophy:


Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche won the Calder Trophy as the NHL rookie of the year Monday.

The 21-year-old defenseman is the sixth player to win the award in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history, joining Peter Stastny (1980-81), Peter Forsberg (1994-95), Chris Drury (1998-99), Gabriel Landeskog(2011-12) and Nathan MacKinnon (2013-14).

“Obviously, I’m very honored,” Makar said. “Just to be able to bring the trophy back to the Avalanche organization is pretty special. Like you touched on, those two great players in Landeskog and MacKinnon, well, they’re fun to watch, and I’m just happy to be able to boast about the Avalanche organization now and bring it back there.”

Makar led NHL rookie defensemen in goals (12) and power-play goals (four) in 57 games this season. Among NHL rookies, he ranked second in assists (38), points (50) — an Avalanche/Nordiques record in a season by a defenseman — and power-play points (19). He also scored four game-winning goals, had a plus-12 rating, and averaged 21:01 of ice time per game (third among rookies).

Makar helped the Avalanche finish with the second-best record in the Western Conference (42-20-8, .657 points percentage) and qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third straight season. In the postseason, he scored 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) and had a plus-12 rating in 15 games for Colorado, which lost to the Dallas Stars in seven games in the Western Conference Second Round.

Makar said he believes the Avalanche have a bright future.

“I think for us as a team, obviously we feel like we have a competitor next year,” he said. “It’s going to be exciting times. We’re in a very exciting group, and we’re in a good spot. I know everybody’s just pumped to get back at it, that’s for sure.

“… Obviously, the main goal is to help your team eventually get that Stanley Cup, and then after winning the award obviously you want to be able to prove to people why you did. So for me it’s just going to be trying to get better every day, come back next season better than I was this year.”

Makar finished with 1,538 points, including 116 first-place votes, in voting for the award by the Professional Hockey Writers Association before the postseason began.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes and Chicago Blackhawks forward Dominik Kubalik were the other finalists for the award. Hughes finished with 1,337 points (53 first-place votes), and Kubalik had 554 points (no first-place votes).

Hughes, a 20-year-old defenseman, led NHL rookies in assists (45), points (53) and power-play points (25) in 68 games, and he was second in average ice time per game (21:53) behind Edmonton Oilers defenseman Ethan Bear (21:58).

Kubalik, a 25-year-old forward, led NHL rookies in goals (30), even-strength points (38) and even-strength goals (26), and he was third with 46 points in 68 games.

Wayne Gretzky presented the Calder Trophy.

“Honestly, to have Wayne Gretzky give it to me, that was pretty cool,” Makar said. “I’ve never met him before, so that was a pretty surreal moment for me.”

The 2020 NHL Awards had been scheduled for June 18 in Las Vegas but were postponed on March 25 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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