Colorado Avalanche awards Nathan McKinnon 8-year extension of $100.8 million

Instead of Nathan McKinnon having the title of one of the league’s best-paid deals, he’s now on the cusp of becoming the highest-paid player in the game starting next season.

McKinnon and the Colorado Avalanche have agreed to an eight-year, $100.8 million extension that will carry $12.6 million, sources told ESPN, confirming multiple reports. It’s a deal that will see McKinnon sign the richest contract in the salary cap era. His new deal sees Edmonton Oilers top spot Conor McDavid surpass $100,000 with McDavid’s AAV of $12.5 million.

The agreement will go into effect at the start of the 2023-24 season with the upcoming 2022-23 campaign being the final year of McKinnon’s previous extension which was a seven-year deal that made him earn $6.3 million annually.

The contract status of the Hart Trophy, a three-time Hart Cup finalist, has long been a topic of debate given his level of production and his deal value. McKinnon has averaged 1.31 points per game over the past five seasons.

MacKinnon’s re-signed extension adds to what has been an off-season activity since his third Stanley Cup win in franchise history. General Manager Joe Sakic took over as President with Assistant General Manager Chris MacFarland’s promotion to General Motors. MacFarland has since signed Valery Neshushkin for an eight-year extension worth $6.125 million, while re-signing Arturi Likonin to a five-year contract worth $4.5 million annually.

It has also been an off season which has seen Avs lose second midfield Nazem Kadri and goalkeeper Darcy Comber. They sought to make up for this absence by signing Evan Rodriguez to a one-year deal with the expectation that he would compete with JT Compher and Alex Newhook for the second place role. Meanwhile, the Avs made a deal with the New York Rangers to acquire goalkeeper Alexandar Georgiev, who will work alongside Pavel Francouz.

Getting a new deal for McKinnon does more than give him the MVP title next season. It also reinforces the latest step Avs has taken when it comes to keeping most of its core components intact. Samuel Gerrard and Mikko Rantanen were the first steps in that plan as they both signed extensions in 2019. Gerrard signed a seven-year contract worth $5 million each season while Rantanen signed a six-year extension worth $9.25 million. A year later, they traded for Devon Toews and signed him to a four-year contract worth $4.1 million annually.

In 2021, the front office re-signed captain Gabriel Landeskoge and 2022 Norris Cup winner Cal Makar for long-term extensions. Landeskog received an eight-year deal worth $7 million annually while Makar received a six-year deal that would net him $9 million annually.

MacKinnon’s massive contract means the avalanche is expected to be worth $13.987 million, according to CapFri Friendly. But there are other considerations they must take into account during the upcoming season. Both Buen Byram and Newhawk, who were selected by the team in the first round in 2019, are in their final year of entry contracts. Compher is set to be an unrestricted free agent while Rodrigues, who has signed a one-year contract this off-season, could also hit the open market. Veteran defender Eric Johnson will also be a member of the UFA suspended squad.

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