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Avalanche sign star Cale Makar: six years, $54M

Avalanche sign star Cale Makar: six years, $54M

DENVER, COLORADO - MAY 17: Cale Makar #8 of the Colorado Avalanche awaits a face off against the St Louis Blues in Game One of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Ball Arena on May 17, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

Not long after the Blackhawks reportedly agreed to a huge and questionable contract extension with Seth Jones, the Avalanche handed Cale Makar a big deal that’s tough to argue with. That’s the power of someone as brilliant as Cale Makar. Just about any price tag makes you shrug your shoulders and say, “Yeah, that’s about right.”

Avalanche sign Cale Makar for six years, $9M cap hit

The Avalanche confirmed that Makar, 22, signed a six-year contract. They didn’t officially note Makar’s $9 million cap hit, but multiple reporters did. In fact, Cale Makar’s reps tweeted out the specifics year-to-year:

Makar ranked among the Norris Trophy finalists in 2020-21, and may have won if he didn’t miss some time with injuries. After a brilliant Calder-winning campaign in 2019-20, Makar generated an impressive point-per-game in 2020-21 (44 in 44).

Naturally, it’s about more than those simple counting stats with Makar.

At times, he seems almost superhuman when it comes to “walking the line.” Maybe it would be more accurate to say he waltzes the line? Either way, he’s a tremendous player, and a blast to watch.

You know a player is special when someone notes that they have “no comps.”

At that $9M AAV, Makar carries the Avalanche’s second-highest cap hit. Mikko Rantanen’s $9.25M AAV ranks a hair higher. Colorado will almost certainly pay Nathan MacKinnon more down the line, but MacKinnon’s remarkable bargain contract ($6.3M cap hit) runs for two more seasons.

With Makar, Devon Toews, and Samuel Girard all signed for three years or more, the Avalanche continue to deploy one of the most enviable collections of defensive talent in the NHL. That they’re paying reasonable (or downright cheap) prices for them is even more impressive.

Beyond how the Avalanche will spend in the future, this is interesting fodder for other defensemen. Could reigning Norris winner Adam Fox be in line for a similar payday? Fox’s contract expires after 2021-22.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.