The Avalanche will attempt to sign University of Massachusetts sophomore defenseman Cale Makar immediately after Saturday’s NCAA championship game in Buffalo, the team said, but it’s unknown if the 2019 Hobey Baker Award winner will make his NHL debut in Game 3 against the Calgary Flames at the Pepsi Center.
Makar, 20, will burn the first year of his three-year, entry-level contract by playing in one game with the Avs, and given Colorado’s depth at defense, it might choose to sign the player but not play him to preserve the first year of his contract. The Avs likely would use an 11-forward, seven-defensemen lineup if Makar joins the fold.
“Right now I’m worried about the guys in the room and the game tonight,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said after Saturday’s Game 2 morning skate at the Scotiabank Saddledome. “Yeah, I’m sure it’s a possibility (Makar joins the team Sunday). I don’t know. But that’s a better question for (general manager) Joe (Sakic).”
According to Sakic’s spokesman, “the team will try to come to an agreement with (Makar) as soon as possible after tonight’s game.”
UMass faces defending NCAA champion Minnesota-Duluth in Saturday’s national championship game (6 p.m. MT, ESPN). Makar helped the Minutemen defeat the University of Denver 4-3 in overtime Thursday in the Frozen Four semifinals.