The Colorado Avalanche have locked up arguably their most valuable defenseman through the 2026-27 season.
The team announced Saturday that it has signed Norris Trophy finalist Cale Makar to a six-year, $54 million contract. The Calgary native was coming off his three-year entry-level contract with Colorado and was a restricted free agent this summer. Makar said in a release:
"I couldn't be more excited knowing I'll be calling Denver home for at least the next six years. I will do everything in my power to bring a Stanley Cup to the best fans in the NHL. My Avalanche teammates are an amazing group of guys, and I can't thank them enough as they played such a huge part in enabling me to perform at my best.
"I want to extend my appreciation to the Kroenke family, Mr. Sakic and Mr. (Chris) MacFarland for their long-term confidence and commitment to me. I also want to say thanks to Steve, Brian, and Scott of Bartlett Hockey for their guidance and work on this deal. I can't wait to get back to work on October 13th at Ball Arena."
The 22-year-old is entering his third season with the Avalanche after being selected by the club fourth overall in 2017. He has tallied 94 points (20 goals, 74 assists) in 101 games, adding 31 points (seven goals, 24 assists) in 35 playoff games.
Makar won the Calder Memorial Trophy in 2019-20 as the NHL's best rookie, becoming the first defenseman in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history to win the award. He was also named to the 2019-20 NHL All-Rookie Team and the NHL First All-Star Team in 2020-21.
According to Spotrac, Makar is now the fourth-highest-paid defenseman in the NHL at $9 million per season. (P.K. Subban also earns $9 million per year.) Erik Karlsson ($11.5 million), Drew Doughty ($11 million) and Roman Josi ($9.059 million) are the highest-paid defensemen in the league.