Stop With The Calder Talk… Cale Makar Should Be Going For The Norris
When Cale Makar took the ice for game 3 of the playoffs last year, you could just tell there was a special feeling in the air. Coming off a Hobey Baker in the pocket and a frozen four push, the hype was real. It didn't even take two periods for Makar to get the puck at top of the slot, skate right down the middle of the D, use his body to bounce a defender off, and wrist one right under the goalie's blocker. It took just the debut, but the expectations for Cale Makar were further gassed up. After looking like a seasoned vet in two different playoff series, I personally thought no way Cale can ever live up to the image we all created.
As soon as the season ended, Cale for Calder was already being thrown around... despite not playing a NHL regular season game yet. Cale Makar's name was overshadowing two of the most talented prospects in the last 10 years. The NHL spent all of last year excited for Jack Hughes and Kappo Kakko to make it the league and the impact two scorers like that can have on the future of the game. It took 10 playoff games for Cale Makar to be thrown in that group of "generational players" and quickly became the most thought after prospect of those three.
Here we are, 18 games into the season: Has Cale Makar lived up to expectations? I don't even think that question needs to be answered. He's running away with the Calder, averaging a point a game, and took a major step up when half the Avs roster went to nurses office. For a team that has 7 or 8 NHLers on the IR, the once promising Avs season, quickly seemed in jeopardy. They lost two key members on the best line in hockey, both NHL goalies, and in general look more like the Eagles than the Avs. But we all know the old saying, "Big time players step up in big time spots and make big time plays". The goal against the Jets was just that.
(NSFW Tag for gif below, might be sexually arousing)
I mean c'mon. My man Perrault was done the second Cale touched the puck. He might as well just have undressed himself, it probably would of been a little bit less embarrassing. Rumor has it Perrault's family disowned him after bringing shame to the family on this play. Crazy what Cale's doing to people.
Cale Makar has embodied being a big time player. Back-to-back game winners, 7 points in the last four games, and most importantly, a key factor in turning a five game losing streak into a three game winning streak. "Calder Makar", "Cale for Calder", "can't spell Calder without Cale", are all being thrown around like free soup. Stop with that. We're holding him back. As long as Cale stays healthy, he should run away with the Calder. Stop comparing him with Lil Jizzy (Jack Hughes) and Kappo Kakko. It's offensive to Cale Makar.
Cale deserves to be compared with names like Brett Burns, Rielly, Giordano, and the other elite defenseman in the NHL. If Cale truly is a point per game player, than there is no reason to not have this debate: CALE MAKAR FOR THE NORRIS? If Cale puts up a 75+ point season and the D as a whole continues to be strong while he's on the ice, Cale will be a finalist for the Norris. If the other finalists look anything like Giordano did last year, than Cale Makar can make a serious push for the Calder and the Norris. The only player to ever win the Norris at a younger age than Makar would be, is the legend #4... Bobby Orr.
Ask Natedawg himself who the best player he's ever played with. He says Mikko or Cale 100% of the time. Peter Mcnabb seriously believes he "can be a 100-point player". Cale Makar lived up to and succeeded his crazy rookie expectations. Stop degrading his game to just the Calder, he deserves the Norris discussion. No telling the potential he has and I don't want to guess on it. So Avs fans: sit back, relax, and enjoy one of the best defenders in the game improve on his craft for the next 10-15 years. Wowzers.