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Cale Makar Sets New Franchise Record for Points by a Rookie Defenseman

The blueliner recorded his 38th point of the year with an assist in Buffalo on Tuesday

by Callie Parmele @CallieParmele / ColoradoAvalanche.com

Buffalo is a city that has been good to Cale Makar in recent history.

In 2018, he won gold with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship. Last year, he competed with the University of Massachusetts Minutemen in the Frozen Four at KeyBank Center and was then named the 2019 Hobey Baker Award winner as college hockey's top player.

On Tuesday, he set a new Colorado Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques franchise record for points by a rookie defenseman in a single campaign.

He recorded his 38th point of the year with an assist in the Avs' 6-1 victory against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center, topping the previous mark of 37 set by Bruce Bell with Quebec in 1984-85.

Video: COL@BUF: Makar reaches milestone on Nichushkin's goal

Makar has also set the franchise rookie record for a defenseman with 11 goals, topping John-Michael Liles' 10 that he scored in 2003-04. Makar leads all NHL first-year players with four game-winning tallies this season, which is a club rookie record for a defenseman. In addition to his markers, he has recorded 26 helpers this year, five shy of tying Bell's mark for the most assists by a rookie blueliner. 

"I mean for me, I am very honored and just humbled to even be in consideration for that, but it is all teammate related," said Makar to ColoradoAvalanche.com of the record. "Everybody on this team is setting personal records, and it's awesome to see. It's just a testament to I think how well we work together and how much we come in every day being able to compete and make each other better."

Video: STL@COL: Makar scores to set franchise rookie mark

The 21-year-old is no stranger to setting new records though. Prior to making the jump to the NHL during the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Makar excelled in his two years playing college hockey with UMass.

The Calgary, Alberta, native recorded 49 points (16 goals, 33 assists) in his sophomore season to become the first defenseman in history to lead Hockey East in overall scoring and broke the UMass single-season school record for points by a rear guard. Makar also helped the Minutemen to their first No. 1 ranking in school history, set program records in wins and conference wins, and capture the team's first-ever Hockey East regular-season championship.

However, the collegiate schedule is different from that of the NHL. Most teams normally play twice a week and each school competes in about 30 to 40 total games throughout the course of the year, depending on its playoff runs.

With 43 outings under his belt this campaign, he has already skated in two more contests than he did all of last year with the Minutemen.

"It is tough, obviously you want to prepare yourself for it. I think this summer now knowing what I have gone through so far, I think I can better prepare myself for even next season hopefully," he said. "I mean it's a long season and we are going to play more games in these next two months than I did all last season as well. You just got to be ready and kind of refuel your body and recover well."

Video: Makar on his franchise mark for points by rookie dman

Makar was named the league's Rookie of the Month for November after he produced 16 points (seven goals, nine assists), the most by a rookie blueliner in any month since Alexei Zhitnik registered 19 in March 1993 with the Los Angeles Kings.

He missed eight games with an upper-body injury in December but has added 10 of his points in the 14 games since recovering from the first ailment of his professional career.

Looking toward the rest of his first year in the NHL and beyond, Makar is placing a focus on being as dependable as he can be for the Avalanche.

"I just want to be consistent individually," said Makar. "I want to be reliable. I think there has been so many ups and downs this season for me, it is just such a learning curve. I think for me, just mentally stay stable, and come out every night and be consistent."

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