Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon just became the highest-paid player on the team, and in the NHL.
The rumor has been for a few weeks that this would be the case, but the official reports are that the club has re-signed their star center for eight years at $12.6 million AAV. The highest player before today was Connor McDavid with a $12.5 AAV. You are sort of getting the impression that extra cash came in just so Nathan MacKinnon could have some bragging rights over the Edmonton Oilers star.
Credit to Peter Baugh of The Athletic for being one of the first to break the news on Twitter.
The contract is broken down by Pierre Lebrun of TSN, which paints a very pretty picture for the Colorado Avalanche fans.
Sure, on the surface, the $12.6 AAV for Nate might seem like a shocking price tag to Colorado Avalanche fans. It’s a big number after all, and the next highest contract on the team belongs to Mikko Rantanen with $9.25 million AAV, but MacK has earned it. Over 8 seasons with the Avs, he’s averaged 81 points with an average of 30 goals per season and 51 assists.
The guy is a production monster. He also took one of the best team-friendly deals in hockey history with his last contract for the Avalanche. Also, with the bonus money breakdown, and it is primarily frontloaded, it should give the club some wiggle room in the years to come.
That, however, also gives the team a massive downside. Given that his salary is so low, trading him becomes a disadvantage in terms of clearing money from the books. Salary bonuses are paid upfront after all. You can rest easy though knowing that a team doesn’t sign a guy to this deal if the idea of a trade is remotely within the plans.
Aside from Nate “securing the bag,” we also have to remember that Erik Johnson is in the last year of his deal so that will clear $6 million off the books next season when Nate’s deal kicks in, so it’s essentially a wash for a year. Combine that with the knowledge that the cap will go up from here, and we’ve locked up our core for the foreseeable future, and you have a team that’s ready to compete for a long time.
Overall, this still looks like a team-friendly deal for the Colorado Avalanche. The best part is that due to it being an eight-year deal, it looks like there’s a very good chance that Nate finishes his career in Colorado. It’s something you love to see, especially if you bought a Nathan MacKinnon sweater last year. (Wink Wink).