The Colorado Avalanche made superstar center Nathan MacKinnon the highest-paid player in the league on Tuesday. The Halifax, Nova Scotia native signed an eight-year, $100.8 million extension that will keep him in Colorado through the end of the 2030-31 season.
Before MacKinnon put pen to paper, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid was the top dog in terms of yearly salary at $12.5 million but now that honor belongs to the 2022 Stanley Cup champion at $12.6 million per year.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) September 20, 2022
Only two players in the entire NHL have more points over the past five seasons than MacKinnon’s 442: McDavid (549) and Leon Draisaitl (479). But neither of those stars has been a key contributor in a successful Stanley Cup run like MacKinnon was in 2022.
The #GoAvsGo signed MacKinnon to 8 year 12.6M Extension:
Yr 1 775K & 15.725M Signing Bonus
Yr 2 775K & 15.725M SB
Yr 3 800K & 15.25M SB
Yr 4 9.15M & 3M SB
Yr 5-8 990K & 9.9M SB
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) September 20, 2022
The contract outline shows that $85.34 million of the $100.8 in total will be paid out in signing bonuses. It also holds a no-movement clause that begins early this season and spans throughout the entire extension.
If you’re interested in why only year four sees MacKinnon paid more in salary than in signing bonuses, it’s because that’s the year (2026-27) the current collective bargaining agreement expires. In any potential lockout situation only signing bonuses will be paid and salaries are frozen.
“It’s my tenth year this year, so it’s cool to get it over with,” Mackinnon told AltitudeTV’s Katie Gaus. “I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I 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.”
During negotiations last week, MacKinnon teased just how lorge his contract would be, nonchalantly mentioning that he would not be signing for less than a double-digit salary.
“I think the deal I sign will be fair,” he said. “It’s not going to be a single digit or anything, but it’ll be good for both sides and Denver’s the only place I want to be. I’d like to be an Av for life.”
The deal sets the stage for another huge upcoming set of contract talks as Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews has just two years left on his deal. If Matthews were to sign an extension in Toronto it would likely come in the same manner MacKinnon signed his with one-year remaining on the previous contract. That means next summer should be Matthews contract watch hour in the hockey world and if he does sign, MacKinnon will almost certainly be unseated at the top of the NHL salary throne.
With the rumors that the league’s salary cap could jump up sooner than once thought, it’s entirely possible/likely that we see multiple players in the future top the sort of money MacKinnon is set to earn with this extension.
Headline photo: @mackinnon29/Instagram
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