The Colorado Avalanche may be focused on the present, but their future looks bright as well. Not only do the Avalanche have the Ottawa Senators first-round pick this season, which could be a lottery pick despite the team’s success early on this year, the team likes what it sees from Cale Makar, the fourth-overall pick in 2017.
The 19-year-old, who is in his sophomore year at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, has been dominating so far in the early games of the season. UMass reports that Makar leads the NCAA already in points/game with 2.33 as he has three goals and seven points in three games. Makar, who had a good season last year, had just 21 points in 34 games last season, putting him way ahead of where he was a year ago. There continue to be rumors that he’ll sign with the Avalanche after this collegiate season.
- The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford (subscription required) answers questions in a mailbag session and points out that the St. Louis Blues intend to put more responsibilities on the shoulders of second-year defenseman Vince Dunn, who has struggled getting minutes early in the season and has been scratched twice. However, Rutherford writes that the Blues believe he’s been one of their most effective defenders and is likely to receive top-four minutes from now on. Evidently, Dunn suffered through back issues over the summer and wasn’t able to get into top shape before the season started. Now that he’s almost back to the shape he was in last year, Dunn is likely to see an uptick in minutes. He’s already expected to be paired on the top defensive line with Alex Pietrangelo.
- In a notebook, The Athletic’s Eric Duhatschek (subscription required) writes that Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey is developing nicely after being drafted as an offensive-only defenseman back in 2013. Since then, he’s developed into an excellent shutdown defender and with Jacob Trouba, combine as the team’s shutdown defensive line against other team’s top players. However, when veteran defenseman Dustin Byfuglien went down with an injury last week, Morrissey was given his job on the No. 1 powerplay and still maintains that job despite Byfuglien’s return. Byfuglien has moved to the No. 2 power play role.
- With the Winnipeg Jets sending 2017 first-round pick Kristian Vesalainen down to Manitoba of the AHL Friday, Moose head coach Pascal Vincent said that the goal is to give the 19-year-old lots of minutes, especially on the power play to get him more ready to eventually return to Winnpeg. “…we want to put him in a position to be successful so he is going to play a lot of minutes and on the power play and I think for his development that’s the right thing,” Vincent said (via Dave Minuk of illegalcurve.com).