When someone is called the “modern day Bobby Orr” by an NHL coach, it should come as no surprise when they’re named the best defenseman in the league.
That’s exactly what NHL Network named Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar on Sunday. At 24 years old and with a Norris Trophy, a Conn Smythe Trophy, and a Calder Trophy under his belt, it would actually be more of a shocker if someone else was selected as the best defenseman in the world.
So no, NHL Network didn’t exactly go out on a limb here by putting the cover star of NHL 24 at the top. There are some real good defensemen in this league, but Makar is ahead of them all.
Perhaps the better question is – where did Devon Toews land?
Makar’s partner has shot up the rankings very quickly over the last few years, and at this point, is pretty much a lock to make anyone’s top 20 list.
He made this one, and was ranked all the way up at #13.
Not too shabby.
The 29 year old defenseman has averaged .69 points-per-game since coming to the Avalanche, but points aren’t what make him great. It’s the all around game. He’s an incredibly smooth skater, and might be equipped with the best defensive stick in the league. There’s a reason why he’s trusted to play over 25 minutes a night by Jared Bednar. He’s reliable, and you usually know what you’re getting from him each and every night.
Of course, when you’re that good, you deserve to get paid like a top 20 defenseman. Toews is entering the final year of his contract, and is due for a hefty raise. It wouldn’t be shocking at all if he doubled his current salary of $4.1 million per-year on his next deal.
Will it be the Avalanche who are able to pay him that big raise? We’ll find out if that’s the case soon enough, but they’ve got Toews under contract for at least one more year. Having two of the best defensemen in the league on one team is quite the luxury, and one they’d love to maintain for a few more years.
If all goes according to plan, maybe Bowen Byram finds his way onto this list in the near future. It might just take one healthy year from him to show he belongs there.
So, what do you think? Is Toews too high? Too low? Did they get it right with Makar at the top?