Nathan MacKinnon could be on the verge of being one of the highest-paid players in the NHL. During Thursday’s NHL/NHLPA media tour near Las Vegas, MacKinnon revealed that he’s “pretty close” to reaching an agreement on a massive contract extension with the Colorado Avalanche.
“We’re pretty close,” MacKinnon said. “I’d prefer it to be done. It gets emotional. You feel like it’s personal sometimes. I’d like to get it done just so it’s not a distraction at all.”
MacKinnon stated that he’d like to strike a deal before the 2022-23 season gets underway in October. If the two sides can’t come to an agreement, the 27-year-old star is prepared to put a halt to talks until after the season is over. His agent, Pat Brisson, also confirmed that the two sides are attempting to get a deal accomplished sooner rather than later.
“I think the deal I sign will be fair,” MacKinnon added. “It’s not going to be a single digit [salary cap hit] or anything, but it’ll be good, I think, for both sides. Denver’s the only place I want to be.”
Under his current contract, the Avalanche center would become a free agent following the 2022-23 campaign.
After helping Colorado win a Stanley Cup last season, it’s quite possible that MacKinnon’s new deal could make him the highest-paid player in the league. Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid currently has the largest contract in the sport with an eight-year, $100 deal, which he signed in 2017. McDavid’s $12.5 million cap hit is currently the highest in the league.
MacKinnon has previously stated that he’d take less money in order for the Avalanche to keep their roster intact. In the offseason, Colorado re-signed winger Valeri Nichuskin to an eight-year, $49 million extension and winger Artturi Lehkonen to a five-year, $22.5 extension. In addition, 2022 Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Cale Makar is also locked up through the 2026-27 season after signing a six-year, $54 million deal in 2021.
MacKinnon is coming off a season in which he registered 88 points (32 goals and 56 assists). The Avalanche center has been named a Hart Trophy finalist for league MVP in two of the last three seasons.