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MacKinnon signs highest-paid 8-year contract in NHL


DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Avalanche make Nathan MacKinnon the highest-paid player of the NHL’s salary cap era.

MacKinnon, who just turned 27 earlier this month, signed an eight-year contract worth $100.8 million, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the team has not announced the terms of the contract.

His new $12.6 million salary cap that goes into effect at the start of the 2023-24 season tops Connor McDavid’s $12.5 million, the highest in the league. McDavid’s eight-year, $100 million deal with the Edmonton Oilers signed in 2017 was the previous record for the highest annual cap since the system was implemented in 2005.

The only deals richer than MacKinnon’s in the age of cap are: Alex Ovechkin’s 13-year, $124 million deal with Washington, Shea Weber’s 14-year, $110 million deal with Nashville and Sidney Crosby’s 12-year, $104.4 million contract with Pittsburgh. The collective agreement has since limited the length of contracts to eight years for a player re-signing with his own team and seven years for free agents.

MacKinnon agreed to the deal with training camp about to begin. It’s been a short offseason for MacKinnon and the Avalanche after winning their first Stanley Cup since 2001.

The hard-shooting, fast-skating center is tied for the league lead with 13 playoff goals. It was the second-most in a single playoff series in franchise history, behind only Hall of Famer Joe Sakic’s 18 goals in 1996 (when Colorado won its first Cup).

MacKinnon, the first pick in the 2013 draft, has been a Hart Trophy finalist in three of the last five seasons (’17-18, ’18-19, ’20-21). He has 242 career goals and 406 assists – the most of anyone in his draft class.

“Nathan is obviously one of the best players in the NHL, so a long-term extension was something we wanted to do before the start of the season,” Avalanche general manager Chris MacFarland said in a statement. communicated Tuesday about the extension. “He has that rare combination of speed and power with a high level of competition that makes him a generational player. We are delighted that he will continue to be part of this team and this community for many years to come.

For years, MacKinnon was known as the most underpaid player in hockey – a title he really didn’t like. Now he has another – the Stanley Cup champion.

He is part of a core Avalanche squad that also includes defenseman Cale Makar, forward Mikko Rantanen and captain Gabriel Landeskog.

“Denver is the only place I want to be for sure,” MacKinnon said recently in Henderson, Nevada, during a preseason media tour.

McDavid considers being overtaken as the highest-paid player, “good for hockey, I guess, to keep raising the bar.”

“But at the end of the day, the salary cap system is a weird system where the more money you make, the less someone else can make,” McDavid added. “It’s a bit of a weird system that way. There will always be concessions.”

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