Toronto Maple Leafs 2017 Draft Watch: Cale Makar

In the last Toronto Maple Leafs Draft Watch, we took a look at Nico Hischier. This time we move back to the defense position.

Nico Hischier will not be around for the Toronto Maple Leafs to draft unless they win the lottery after shooting up the rankings, but Cale Makar might be around.

Makar is a 5’11”, 179lb, right shot, puck moving defender playing in the AJHL for the Brooks Bandits.

He’s currently the highest scoring defender in the league, an 8th overall, with 58 points in 45 games. The next closest defender is 11 points back.

There’s no avoiding being aware of Makar’s offensive abilities, but let’s be honest. The AJHL isn’t exactly the top draft eligible league in the world, and the competition isn’t near what it would be in Major Junior.

That said, 41 of those 58 points come in at even strength, which suggests that this kid could just be playing the wrong league.

When Makar captained Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge this year he recorded eight points in four games. In the very first game of the tournament, Makar had two goals and three assists to become the first person in World Junior A Challenge history to have a five point night. Here are the five points in a video from NHL Prospects:

He’s a quick skater with a quick shot release and silky smooth hands at his current level. The goal at the end of the clip is disgusting. Even though he’d never go that untouched in the NHL, it was still impressive to watch.

Makar comes as a question mark, still, with regards to how his game translates to the NHL. He will easily be the highest ever draftee from the AJHL. He could end up being a steal in the middle of the first round ten years from now, or he might just be a big fish in a small pond. His highlights sure are entertaining, though, and he’s probably worth the mid-1st gamble given the probabilities of prospects.

Makar is committed to the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) in the NCAA and ranked between 13th and 18th overall for the 2017 draft.

Previous Draft Watch Articles

Nico Hischier

Luke Martin

Nikita Popugaev

Nicolas Hague

Juuso Valimaki

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