Cale Makar drafted by Colorado Avalanche in first round of 2017 NHL Entry Draft

By Ryan Ames

    (Collegian File Photo)

​Incoming Massachusetts hockey defenseman Cale Makar didn’t have to wait long to here his name called in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

​Makar was drafted fourth overall by the Colorado Avalanche, making him the highest drafted member of the UMass hockey team in club history.

​Hailing from Calgary, Alberta, Makar’s stock rose from scouts calling him a fringe NHL player just a few months ago, to now drawing comparisons to Ottawa Senators star defenseman Erik Karlsson.

As a member of the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League this past season, Makar put up strong numbers compiling 75 points (24 goals, 51 assists), which catapulted him to the Canadian Junior Hockey Defenseman of the Year Award.

The 5-foot-11 inch, 187 pound rearguard joins an Avalanche squad that could use help on the blueline. Colorado posted the worst record of any team in the NHL with a 22-56-4 line in 2016-2017, and had a league worst -112 goal differential.

​Makar was the second defenseman taken in the draft behind Finnish prospect Miro Heiskanen, who was selected one pick ahead of him at third overall by the Dallas Stars.

Originally committed in 2015 when John Michelletto was head coach, Makar still plans on attending UMass for his freshman campaign.

The Minutemen boast a few more prospects that could here their names called this weekend including defenseman Mario Ferraro, goalie Matt Murray, center Philip Lagunov, and defenseman Jayson Dobay.

​UMass opens its season September 30 with an exhibition game against Queens University.

Ryan Ames can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @_RyanAmes.