Avalanche’s Cale Makar wins Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year

Sep 2, 2020; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Colorado Avalanche defensemen Cale Makar (8) skates during warmup against the Dallas Stars in game six of the second round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar on Monday won the 2020 Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL rookie of the year.

Makar, 21, beat out fellow blueliner Quinn Hughes of the Vancouver Canucks and forward Dominik Kubalik of Chicago. Makar received 116-of-170 first-place votes from the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association and nothing lower than second. Hughes, who had 53 first-place votes, was the runnerup.

“I’m very honored. Just to be able to bring the trophy back to the Avalanche organization is pretty special,” Makar said.

Avalanche superstar center Nathan MacKinnon struck out on both of his award nominations as NHL MVP. The three-time 90-point scorer was second in voting behind Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl for both the Hart Trophy (voted by the PHWA) and the Ted Lindsay Award (NHL Players Association).

Selected by the Avalanche fourth overall in the 2017 NHL draft, Makar recorded a rookie-leading 0.88 points-per-game. His 50 points in 57 games in the abbreviated regular season are second among rookies, edged slightly by Hughes, who recorded 53 points in 11 more games.

Makar is the fourth Avalanche player and first defenseman to win the award since the club relocated to Denver in 1995. He joins Chris Drury (1999) and teammates Gabe Landeskog (2012) and MacKinnon (2014). Former Avs forward and Hall-of-Famer Peter Forsberg also won the Award in 1995 with the Quebec Nordiques months before relocation.

The Avalanche’s four Calder Trophy winners are the most in the NHL since 1996.

“Those two great players in Landeskog and MacKinnon, they’re fun to watch,” Makar said. “I’m just happy to be able to boast about the Avalanche organization now and bring it back there.”

MacKinnon had 48 first-place votes for the Hart Trophy and finished with 1,162 points. He trailed Draisaitl in both categories (91 and 1,309, respectively). The 25-year-old was also nominated for the Hart Trophy in 2018 but finished second to Taylor Hall of New Jersey.