Cale Makar is within days of joining the Avs, and becoming the next Tyson Barrie

According to how Tyson Barrie is playing of late, adding like-minded defenseman Cale Makar to the Avalanche lineup isn’t a priority. Given Barrie’s giant offensive contributions in the past six games, the Avs can manage to wait patiently for Makar — the Hockey East player of the year and the favorite to collect the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s greatest player.

Makar’s NCAA career is down to one-and-done, meaning that the Avs’ top prospect could sign with the NHL club when Saturday — if the University of Massachusetts loses to Harvard in Friday’s NCAA Tournament opener. However, the Minutemen (28-9-0) would be the No. 1 seed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester, N.H., and therefore a good bet to advance to the Frozen Four April 11-13 in Buffalo, N.Y.

If UMass advances to the national semifinals, its star sophomore could continue to be eligible to join the Avalanche in the playoffs, which start April 10. If, that is, Colorado makes the playoffs.

Makar, 20, is known as the next Barrie, 27, the swift-skating, offensive-minded right-shot defenseman who quarterbacks the No. 1 power play. Barrie has eight points (five goals) in his last six games — a stretch during which Colorado is 5-0-1 — and surpassed Sandis Ozolinsh as the Avs’ all-time leader in goals (73), assists (231) and points (304) with a blueliner.

“I’m trying to push the pace, trying to make a difference each night — going in with the mindset that I’m going to make a difference,” Barrie said Friday following a morning skate at the Pepsi Center, where the Avs host Arizona on Friday night in a game that could ultimately decide the final Western Conference playoff spot. “I don’t know if I’ve changed a whole lot. Some of those (shots) that perhaps weren’t going in or hitting the article, they’re finding their way in. It’s definitely nice, but I got to keep it moving with five games left. ”

The Avalanche could manage to have both Barrie and Makar, but if Makar is as good as advertised the team could potentially trade Barrie and use his $5.5 million contract next season to re-sign a handful of restricted free agents, such as all-star winger Mikko Rantanen.  Makar, like all entry-level gamers, will have an annual cap hit of less than $1 million in his first 3 years in the league.

Whatever the Avs decide to do with Barrie, they’ll have a blue-line corps to be proud of this minute Makar turns pro.

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Gabe Landeskog following morning skate … will he crack the lineup following nine-game absence? #Avs

— Mike Chambers (@MikeChambers) March 29, 2019

Captain confirmed. Avalanche captain Gabe Landeskog will return from a nine-game lack Friday from the Coyotes. Landeskog, who sustained a separated shoulder March 7 at Dallas, will play left wing on a line with center Carl Soderberg and right winger Colin Wilson. The Avs went 6-2-1 without Landeskog, who’s second on the team with 33 goals.

Jared Bednar insight heading into tonight’s big game vs AZ #Avs

— Mike Chambers (@MikeChambers) March 29, 2019

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