Avalanche, Nathan MacKinnon ‘pretty close’ on contract extension

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One can only assume he means the average annual value will be at least $10M, though even that would be a discount for the Stanley Cup champion.

MacKinnon, who just turned 27 two weeks ago, is headed into the final season of a seven-year, $44.1M contract signed in 2016 that has become one of the league’s biggest bargains. For $6.3M against the cap, the Avalanche have received a three-time Hart Trophy finalist, Lady Byng winner, and one of the most dominant two-way centers in the league.

Since the start of the 2017-18 season, only Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have outscored MacKinnon’s 442 points, and both of them have played more games than the Colorado phenom. His 167 goals during that stretch put him seventh in the league, while his +88 rating (seventh-highest over that span) gives a glimpse of just how dominant the Avalanche have been whenever he is on the ice.

There’s a real chance that MacKinnon – if he chooses to – could become the highest-paid player in the league on his next contract. That title currently goes to McDavid and his $12.5M cap hit. At the very least, one would expect MacKinnon to join the select group of players that earns at least $11M per season, which includes McDavid, Artemi Panarin, Auston Matthews, Erik Karlsson, John Tavares, and Drew Doughty for the 2022-23 season.

Amazingly, the Avalanche currently project to have the room to keep him, even at a price that high. The team has set up many of their contracts to expire at the end of this season, with Erik Johnson, J.T. Compher, Evan Rodrigues, Andrew Cogliano, and Darren Helm all coming off the books (if they choose to let them go). While there are other players – like star defenseman Devon Toews – to re-sign in the coming years, MacKinnon’s contract will certainly take precedence.

It has been somewhat surprising that an extension hasn’t been announced already, given he has been eligible for more than two months. Perhaps the team was allowing him and the rest of the Avalanche time to enjoy their celebratory offseason after finally breaking through and winning the Stanley Cup.





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