DENVER — The Colorado Avalanche's top offseason priority is complete.
The team announced on Saturday morning it signed defenseman Cale Makar to a six-year contract, with Makar's agent confirming the deal is worth $54M.
Makar was a restricted free agent, meaning he could have signed an offer sheet with another club to potentially leave Colorado, but negotiations went well and it never reached that phase.
The 22-year-old was a finalist for the Norris Trophy in 2020-21, the honor awarded to the NHL's top defenseman. He was also named to the NHL First All-Star Team last season. He had 44 points (8 goals, 36 assists) in 44 games.
In 101 career regular season games, Makar has 94 points (20 goals, 74 assists). He's tacked on 31 more points in 35 career playoff games.
"I think for both sides we wanted to do something that worked for both of us." Makar said in a ZOOM call on Saturday afternoon. "I'm very happy and couldn't be more excited."
Makar, the No. 4 overall pick by Colorado in the 2017 NHL Draft, famously joined the Avalanche in the 2019 playoffs against the Calgary Flames, just 72 hours after winning the Hobey Bakey Award. He scored in Colorado's Game 3 win on his first-ever NHL shot in the first period.
“In just over two seasons, Cale has already established himself as one of the premier defensemen in the National Hockey League,” said Avalanche EVP / GM Joe Sakic in statement provided by the team. “His ability to play in all situations and at both ends of the ice makes him truly unique and we are excited to have him anchor our blueline for years to come.”
Next up for the Avalanche will be an attempt to sign free agent captain Gabriel Landeskog to a new deal. The Avs left Landeskog unprotected in the NHL Expansion Draft for the Seattle Kraken, but they chose to snag Joonas Donskoi instead.
Landsekog is allowed to start signing with other teams when NHL free agency officially opens on July 28. Colorado will try to lock him into a new deal before that.
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