What Nathan MacKinnon’s new contract means for the Avalanche, other NHL superstars like Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid
Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon signed the richest contract for the NHL salary cap era on Tuesday, agreeing to an eight-year contract extension worth $100.8 million. That’s an average annual value of $12.6 million for the 27-year-old center, higher than that of Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid or anyone else in the NHL.
It’s a contract that will have an impact on the Avalanche roster and future NHL contracts for superstars like Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
How did MacKinnon end up with this deal?
MacKinnon is making up for lost dollars.
The Avalanche star signed a seven-year, $44 million contract extension in July 2016, his second NHL contract following his rookie deal. Nathan MacKinnon wasn’t Nathan MacKinnon yet: He had 52 points in 72 games and had spent two seasons trying to recapture the magic of his Calder Trophy-winning rookie campaign. As a restricted free agent, he didn’t have much leverage and settled on an annual cap hit of $6.3 million.
For the majority of that contract, MacKinnon was perhaps the NHL’s greatest bargain, allowing the Avalanche to build a championship roster while their star player was earning less against the cap than 103 other NHL players.
There was some speculation that MacKinnon might take a cap-friendly deal with the Avalanche, following in the tradition of what his friend and childhood hero Sidney Crosby did with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Three years ago, MacKinnon told Forbes that “on my next deal, I’ll take less again. Because I want to win with this group.”