DENVER - Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar was named to the Central Division roster for the 2022 NHL All-Star Game, it was announced by the league today. He will make his first career All-Star Game appearance when the 2022 Honda NHL® All-Star Game is held on Saturday, Feb. 5 in Las Vegas (1 p.m. MT, ABC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports). Makar will also participate in the 2022 NHL All-Star Skills™ presented by DraftKings Sportsbook on Friday, Feb. 4 (5:30 p.m. MT, ESPN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports).
Makar, 23, is the first Avalanche defenseman to be named to the NHL All-Star Game since Erik Johnson in 2014-15. Johnson, however, did not participate in the event due to injury and thus Makar is aiming to be the first Colorado blueliner to play in an NHL All-Star Game since Rob Blake in 2003-04.
Makar leads all NHL defensemen with 16 goals in 29 games this season, joining Bobby Orr as the only defensemen in the modern era (since 1943-44) to score 16 or more goals prior to their 30th contest of a season. Orr had 19 through 29 games in 1974-75 and 17 in 1973-74. Makar's 16 tallies are the most by an Avalanche backliner in a single season since Rob Blake had 17 in 2002-03.
Makar also leads all NHL blueliners in points-per-game (1.17) and game-winning goals (4), while his 34 points rank fourth. Makar is tied with Mikko Rantanen for the team lead in goals and ranks first on the Avs in game-winning tallies. Thirteen (13) of his 16 goals have come at even strength, tops on the club and by far the most of any NHL defender.
Among Makar's highlights so far this season are his 100th career point on Oct. 28 at St. Louis, tied for the sixth-fastest blueliner in history to reach 100, setting a franchise record for a defenseman with a five-game goal streak from Nov. 17-26 and posting the highest single month points/game average (1.75 in November) by a rearguard since Ray Bourque (1.80) in March 1994. Cale was named the NHL's Third Star in back-to-back weeks, Nov. 15-21 and Nov. 22-28, becoming only the second Avalanche player to earn the honor in consecutive weeks (Pavel Francouz, Feb. 2020). Makar scored his first career overtime goal on Jan. 4 at Chicago and potted the winning tally on his first career shootout attempt in Tampa Bay on Oct. 23.
Video: Toyota Game Recap: Makar's OT Winner
The Calgary, Alberta native has 128 career points (36g/92a) in 130 regular-season games, the third most ever by an NHL defenseman through 130 games behind only Harry Cameron (142) from 1917-23 and Mark Howe (138) from 1979-81. Makar's 36 goals are the most by a defender through 130 contests since Phil Housley had 41 through his first 130 outings from 1982-84. Cale's 0.98 career points/game average is tied with Ray Bourque for the fifth-highest by a rearguard in league history behind Orr (1.39), Cameron (1.10), Paul Coffey (1.09) and Denis Potvin (0.99).
Makar has scored 11 career game-winning goals, the most of any NHL defenseman since the start of the 2019-20 campaign (next closest is John Carlson with eight). It's the most game winners in a defenseman's first 130 NHL contests since Cameron (15). The last NHL blueliner with that many game-winning markers in his first three NHL seasons was Dion Phaneuf (15) from 2005-06 to 2007-08, but that was in 243 games.
Makar has added 31 points (7g/24a) in 35 career playoff games, the 10th most through 35 postseason contests by a blueliner in Stanley Cup Playoff history. His 0.89 points-per-game average in the postseason is the seventh-highest number by a defender in league history (minimum 30 games played).
Makar was a finalist for the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman and was named to the NHL First All-Star Team in 2020-21. He was just the third defenseman in Avalanche/Nordiques history to be named to the NHL First All-Star Team, joining Sandis Ozolinsh in 1996-97 and Bourque in 2000-01. Only four other defensemen in the last 50 years have made the NHL First All-Star Team before their 23rd birthday (as of the end of the regular season): Erik Karlsson (21 years old in 2011-12), Dion Phaneuf (22 in 2007-08), Bourque (19 in 1979-80 and 21 in 1981-82) and Potvin (21 in 1974-75 and 22 in 1975-76).
Makar won the Calder Memorial Trophy in 2019-20, becoming the first defenseman in Avalanche/Nordiques history to be named the league's rookie of the year. He was just the 12th defenseman in NHL history to win the Calder Memorial Trophy and only the second in the last 10 seasons, joining Aaron Ekblad in 2014-15.
Selected by Colorado in the first round (fourth overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft, Makar spent two seasons at the University of Massachusetts, where as a sophomore in 2018-19 he became the first player in school history to win the Hobey Baker Award. Seventy-two hours after winning the Hobey Baker and 48 hours after playing in the NCAA title game, Makar scored his first NHL goal on his first shot in the opening period of Colorado's Game 3 victory against Calgary in Round 1 on April 15, 2019. He became the first defenseman in history to score his first career goal while making his NHL debut in the Stanley Cup Playoffs
Internationally, Makar helped Team Canada win the gold medal at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo. The highest-drafted defenseman in Avalanche history, Makar was named the 2016-17 Canadian Junior Hockey League's Most Valuable Player and Alberta Junior Hockey League MVP in his final season with the Brooks Bandits.