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Avalanche add Hobey Baker winner Cale Makar for playoffs

Nathan MacKinnon fires a rocket top shelf to beat Mike Smith in overtime as the Avalanche tie their series with the Flames.

It has been a pretty successful 24 hours for the Colorado Avalanche.

After tying their Round 1 series against the Calgary Flames on Saturday night with a thrilling overtime win that was capped off by a beautiful Nathan MacKinnon goal, the team announced on Sunday that top prospect and 2019 Hobey Baker Award winner Cale Makar has officially signed his entry-level contract with the team.

He will be available to play immediately and could be on the ice as soon as Game 3 when the series shifts to Colorado on Monday night.

Makar just concluded his sophomore season at the University of Massachusetts, tallying 49 points in 41 games and helped lead the team to the National Championship game where it fell to Minnesota-Duluth on Saturday.

“Cale obviously had a tremendous season, winning the Hobey Baker and getting his team to the Frozen Four,” Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said in a team statement.

“He is a game-changing type of player who made a lasting impact on the UMass hockey program. We are excited to have him join our team.”

The 20-year-old Makar was the No. 4 overall pick by the Avalanche in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

Going from the NCAA to the Stanley Cup Playoffs is obviously a massive jump, but it is not completely unheard of. Back in 2017 the Boston Bruins added Charlie McAvoy in a similar manner and he immediately jumped into the lineup and played 26 minutes per night in his first six games. It remains to be seen how much Makar will play for the Avalanche and what sort of impact he can make, but the potential is clearly there for him to be a significant addition to an Avalanche team that has already wrestled home ice advantage away from the No. 1 seed Flames.

Game 3 of Avalanche-Flames will take place on Monday at 10 p.m. ET on CNBC

Related: Cale Makar wins Hobey Baker Award as college hockey MVP

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.