Nathan MacKinnon isn’t hockey’s most underpaid player anymore: the Colorado Avalanche star signed an eight-year, $100.8 million contract extension on Tuesday [20 September].
The agreement, which comes into effect after his current deal expires at the end of the season, will see him vault Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid to become the highest-paid player in the NHL with a $12.6 million annual average value.
EIGHT MORE FOR NATE THE GREAT!#GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/BzQmrdIk6w
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) September 20, 2022
“It’s cool to get it over with,” MacKinnon said. “I’ve been thinking about it a lot and didn’t want to go into the season without a contract [because] I knew I’d be asked about it all season, so I’m really happy.”
The 27-year-old centre has one season remaining on a seven-year contract that carries a cap hit of $6.3 million, meaning he would have become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Instead, he inked a long-term extension at Ball Arena, following through on his desire to finalise contract negotiations before Colorado’s defence of the Stanley Cup starts on 12 October.
“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,” said Avalanche general manager Chris MacFarland “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.”
MacKinnon accumulated 24 points (13 goals, 11 assists) in 20 playoff appearances en route to winning the Stanley Cup last term, building on his 88-point haul from the regular-season. His career record is astounding:
|Games Played||Goals||Assists||Points||Points Per Game||Penalty Minutes|
The Canadian’s list of accolades also includes winning the Calder Trophy in 2013-14, hoisting the Memorial Cup in 2012-13, and earning a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2014 IIHF World Championship. Also of note: he is third in the NHL in points (442) over the last five seasons, appearing as a Hart Trophy finalist in 2017-18, 2019-20, and 2020-21.
Selected first overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, MacKinnon has helped Colorado qualify for the postseason in six of the last nine years.
“Our core is such a key piece to our success and that’s led by Nate,” said Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar. “His contract has been coming for quite some time. He’s earned it. We’re really happy to have him back and happy for him to sign the big deal and be part of it for a long time to come.”