Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon signs 8-year contract extension, becomes highest-paid NHL player

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Fresh off winning his first Stanley Cup, Nathan MacKinnon reportedly became the highest-paid player in the NHL Tuesday after signing a massive contract extension with the Colorado Avalanche. 

MacKinnon, who was entering the final year of a contract signed in 2016, inked an eight-year deal worth $100.8 million, a source told The Associated Press Tuesday. He will earn $12.6 million a year, topping Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid, who had been the highest-paid player at $12.5 million. 

Nathan MacKinnon (29) of the Colorado Avalanche skates during Game 4 of the Western Conference finals against the Edmonton Oilers June 6, 2022, at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
(Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

“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,” Avalanche general manager Chris MacFarland said, via the team website. 

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“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 said he was “happy” to get the negotiations out of the way before the season starts Oct. 12.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon greets teammates after scoring during the second period of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning June 26, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon greets teammates after scoring during the second period of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning June 26, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.
(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

“It’s cool to get it over with,” he said, via NHL.com. “Been thinking about it a lot. Didn’t want to go into the season without a contract. I knew I’d be asked about it all season, so I’m really happy.”

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The first overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, MacKinnon, 27, led the Avalanche to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup win since 2001 with a league-high of 13 postseason goals. He has 242 career goals and 406 assists and has been a Hart Trophy finalist in three of his last five seasons. 

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon hoisting the Stanley Cup after Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning June 26th, 2022, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon hoisting the Stanley Cup after Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning June 26th, 2022, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla.
(Andrew Bershaw /Icon_Sportswire)

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MacKinnon is the youngest player to ever win the Calder Trophy and the youngest player to make an NHL debut for the Avalanche.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.