Junior team: Brooks (AJHL)
2016-17 stats: 54 games, 24 goals, 51 assists, 75 points
Size: 5-foot-11, 180 pounds
Born: Calgary, Alberta
Central Scouting rank: No. 9 (North America)
What to know: As the Sabres learned the hard way, skilled forwards need defensemen who can get the puck out of their zone and make plays. Makar may be the best in the draft in doing just that.
Makar has an offensive mind on the back end, which allows him to look for outlet passes, skate away from trouble and join the rush. He dominated the lower-tier Alberta Junior Hockey League, finishing first in scoring among blue-liners and sixth overall. His talent is widely recognized as Makar earned Most Valuable Player in the Canadian Junior Hockey League, which is comprised of 10 leagues and 132 teams, and the AJHL.
Though the skill is obvious, the drawback is it came against subpar competition compared to most of the top prospects. He’s committed to UMass Amherst, so he’s not expected to help an NHL club right away. Makar went the AJHL and college route because he was a late-growing child, but he still needs to add bulk to compete against professionals.
He said it: “This season, a lot of people were comparing me to somewhat of an Erik Karlsson. Before that, I always really liked his play and never noticed that we had such similar tendencies around the puck. So I’ve been watching a lot of clips of him and also Shayne Gostisbehere of Philadelphia because his deceptiveness is one of the key traits to my game as well.” – Makar to the Calgary Sun.
The Buffalo News is profiling 30 prospects in 30 days leading up to the NHL Draft, which will be held June 23-24 in Chicago.