Certainly, David Carle has met his fair share of impressive defensemen. Even within his family, brother Matt was Hobey Baker Award winner as a defenseman at the University of Denver and was a decade-long NHL veteran while younger brother Alex was an assistant captain at Merrimack College.
Carle himself was a highly-touted prospect before a rare heart condition abruptly ended his playing career.
But what the Pioneers head coach has seen from Colorado Avalanche rookie Cale Makar has been “nothing but impressive.”
“He’s just really fun to watch,” said Carle, who’s had some first-hand experience into how good Makar is on the ice. The 2019 Hobey Baker Award winner led UMass to the finals of the NCAA’s Frozen Four in April, knocking out the Pioneers on the way there.
Makar certainly flashed during his first NHL action, scoring a goal in his first game against the Calgary Flames (his hometown team) in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last spring.
But perhaps more impressive has been Makar’s first taste of the NHL regular season.
Through the first two months of the season, Makar not only leads all rookies in points (25) by a fairly wide margin but also is tied for 19th among all NHL players. His seven goals ranks second among all rookies and sixth among all defensemen.
“He’s got some sexiness and some flare to his game that can, I think, really turn the average fan onto him and get them excited,” Carle said. “So, there’s no doubt he’s got star power the way that he plays.”
But aside from that superstar appeal, Makar may have been the final piece to open the Avs window for being a perennial Stanley Cup contender.
“He’s in his prime it seems like already at 21 and most d-men don’t hit their prime until they’re 26. So, I think the Avs got a big window with him being a part of their organization,” Carle said. “And what he’s doing is nothing but impressive.”
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