Avalanche to play UMass’ Makar in Game 3

NHL

Just over 48 hours after competing in the NCAA men’s hockey national championship game, Cale Makar will make his NHL debut with the Colorado Avalanche in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Avalanche confirmed Monday that the college hockey star and 2017 No. 4 overall draft pick would be in the lineup against the Calgary Flames Monday night.

While there have been several players who have made their NHL debuts in the playoffs, no one has had a turnaround quite like this. Makar’s whirlwind week started with helping UMass advance to the national championship for the first time in school history in a dramatic overtime win over Denver Thursday.

On Friday, he won the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as college hockey’s top player. Saturday night, he and UMass fell to Minnesota Duluth in the final. The next morning, Makar signed his entry-level contract with the Avalanche.

Finally, on Monday, Makar took part in his first morning skate with the team after which it was announced he would be playing in Game 3.

The Avalanche are expected to be without defenseman Samuel Girard after he sustained an injury in Game 2, hence the opening for Makar.

By playing the 20-year-old rookie in this game, Makar will be eligible for the NHL expansion draft ahead of Seattle’s arrival in 2021-22. In order not to be exposed, the Avalanche would have to use one of their slots for protected players.

Should Makar stay in the lineup beyond Games 3 and 4, he may also have the chance to play in his hometown as he was born and raised in Calgary, where he grew up a Flames fan.

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