The Colorado Avalanche have locked up elite center Nathan MacKinnon to an eight-year contract with a $12.6 million annual average value.
MacKinnon Cashes In to Historic Levels
With the extension, MacKinnon has become the highest-paid player in the NHL, surpassing the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor MacDavid.
The Avalanche backed up the Brink’s truck for good reason. One of the NHL’s most dynamic offensive talents, MacKinnon has recorded 648 points (242 goals, 406 assists) in 638 games, and 93 points (41 goals, 52 assists) in 70 playoff games. He has spent his entire nine-season carer for the Avalanche, who drafted him first overall in 2013, and was the first major piece in their rebuild last decade.
The 27-year-old product of Halifax, Nova Scotia serves as an Avalanche alternate captain. Last season, he put up 88 points in the regular season and 24 in the playoffs as the Avalanche won their first Stanley Cup since 2001.
MacKinnon has been a Hart Trophy Finalist in three of the past five seasons (2017-18, 2018-19, and 2020-21). He won the 2020 Lady Byng, the 2014 Calder Trophy, and has been named to the NHL’s Second All-Star Team twice, in 2017-18 and 2019-20.
MacKinnon did all that on an extremely team-friendly contract, perhaps the most team friendly in the entire league. Back in July, 2016, he signed a seven-year deal with a $6.3 million AAV.
Avalanche Get Extension Done Early, Can Focus on Back-to-Back Cup Quest
The aforementioned seven-year contract has one year left on it, so the extension will kick in — and his pay will exactly double — after this season, and run through 2030-31.
By getting the extension done now, the storyline can be put to bed and Avalanche general manager Chris McFarland has removed any chance MacKinnon walks to unrestricted free agency next summer.
“Nathan is obviously one of the premier players in the NHL so a long-term extension was something we wanted to get done before the season started,” McFarland said in a statement. “He has that rare combination of speed and power with a high compete level that makes him a generational player. We are thrilled he will continue to be a member of this team and this community for many years to come.”
After capturing the Cup, the Avalanche lost a couple of strong players — Andre Burakovsky to the Seattle Kraken and Nazem Kadri to the Calgary Flames — primarily because they needed to set money aside for MacKinnon’s inevitably lucrative raise.
That money’s now been spent, and the Avalanche front office and fans alike can feel confident knowing a rare talent will be in the fold long term and will continue to be a key contributor during their current window of contention and their quest to repeat.
Declan Schroeder is a 27-year-old communications specialist and freelance journalist in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He holds a diploma in Creative Communications with a major in journalism from Red River College and a bachelors in Rhetoric and Communications from the University of Winnipeg.
Deeply rooted in the city’s hockey culture, the original Jets skipped town when he was two and the 2.0 version came onto the scene when he was 17.