Bob McKenzie on Colorado Avalanche draft plan: “Strong sense” they take Cale Makar 4th

Colorado hasn’t picked a defenseman in the first round since 2011.

NHL hockey pucks. Bill's Sports Collectibles. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  Avalanche; bill's sports collectibles; retail; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;

NHL hockey pucks. Bill's Sports Collectibles. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Are the Colorado Avalanche leaning toward taking Canadian defenseman Cale Makar fourth overall Friday in the first round of the NHL Draft? That’s what TSN hockey insider Bob McKenzie seems to believe.

On a Vancouver radio show Wednesday morning, McKenzie said there’s a “strong sense” Colorado will choose Makar with its first-round selection Friday.

“I think the Colorado Avalanche are very interested in taking a defenseman,” McKenzie said. “The strong sense about Colorado, and it’s early yet, but that guy would be Makar. If it’s Makar that the Vancouver Canucks want, they’re probably not going to get him at five.”

Colorado hasn’t picked a defenseman in the first round since 2011, when it chose Duncan Siemiens 11th overall. That drought could come to an end this year.

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Makar is the fourth-ranked prospect on McKenzie’s big board. He just completed his second full season with the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

Makar, 18, scored 24 goals and recorded 51 assists in 54 games with Brooks last season. This fall, he is set to begin his college career at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

The Avalanche have used their first-round pick on forwards four years in a row. They picked Nathan MacKinnon first in 2013, Conner Bleackley 23rd in 2014, Mikko Rantanen 10th in 2015 and Tyson Jost 10th in 2016.

Colorado is coming off nightmare 48-point season.

The first round of the draft takes place Friday, while rounds two through seven happen Saturday. Coverage begins at 4 p.m. Friday. You can watch the draft on NBC Sports Network.

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