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Nathan MacKinnon, NHL's Largest Contracts After Avalanche Star's Record Deal

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 20, 2022

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Nathan MacKinnon had himself an excellent 2021-22 season and a postseason for the ages. No surprises, then, that he's getting paid in a major way.

The superstar forward has signed an eight-year extension with the Colorado Avalanche that reportedly has an average annual value of $12.6 million, tops in the NHL.

Colorado Avalanche @Avalanche

EIGHT MORE FOR NATE THE GREAT!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoAvsGo?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoAvsGo</a> <a href="https://t.co/BzQmrdIk6w">pic.twitter.com/BzQmrdIk6w</a>

Peter Baugh @Peter_Baugh

My quick thoughts: If the salary cap continues going up like expected, this will be a bargain for the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Avs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Avs</a>.

Pierre LeBrun @PierreVLeBrun

Nathan MacKinnon contract structure:<br><br>23-24: $15.725M signing bonus, $775k salary<br>24-25: $15.725M SB, $775k salary<br>25-26: $15.25M SB, $800k salary<br>26-27: $3M SB, $9.15M salary<br>27-28 through 30-31: $8.91M SB, $990k salary each year<br><br>AAV $12.6 M

Pierre LeBrun @PierreVLeBrun

Nathan MacKinnon's deal includes $85.34 million in signing bonus money

By AAV, MacKinnon, 27, is now just edging out Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, arguably the league's best player who has led the league in scoring in four of the past six seasons.

  1. MacKinnon: $12.6 million AAV
  2. McDavid: $12.5 million AAV
  3. Artemi Panarin, LW, New York Rangers: $11.6 million AAV
  4. Auston Matthews, C, Toronto Maple Leafs: $11.6 million AAV
  5. Erik Karlsson, D, San Jose Sharks: $11.5 million AAV

In terms of total value among current contracts, Las Vegas Knights defenseman Shea Weber still tops the charts on his 14-year, $110 million deal, which runs through the 2025-26 season, though he didn't play last season and may be unofficially retired at this point.

In NHL history, Alex Ovechkin's previous 13-year, $124 million deal with the Washington Capitals is the most total money on a contract in league history.

CapFriendly @CapFriendly

Nathan MacKinnon's $100.8M extension is the 4th most valuable contract in NHL history<br><br>1. Alex Ovechkin $124M<br>2. Shea Weber $110M<br>3. Sidney Crosby $104.4M <br>4. MacKinnon $100.8M<br>5. McDavid &amp; Kovalchuk $100M<a href="https://t.co/HEoxeYfbuQ">https://t.co/HEoxeYfbuQ</a>

MacKinnon's massive AAV will move the needle for superstar contracts to follow, however. He was fantastic in the 2021-22 season, scoring 32 goals and adding 56 assists in 65 games.

But he was downright special in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, posting a league-leading 13 goals to go along with 11 points as the Avs won the title. So a massive deal was always going to follow, and there is an argument to be made that it's even a team-friendly deal, given the duration.

dom @domluszczyszyn

Nathan MacKinnon, the new highest paid player in the league, is still underpaid. <a href="https://t.co/YvdXkycqDG">pic.twitter.com/YvdXkycqDG</a>

Adrian Dater @adater

I think it can still accurately be said that Nathan MacKinnon, while getting wish of being NHL's highest-paid player, also gave something of a team discount to Avs. I think his agent wanted more, but in the end the player is the boss

Sean Gentille @seangentille

Asked MacKinnon if he was ready to cede "most underpaid player in the NHL" title to Makar.<br><br>“He has it now. I chirp him about who makes more than him. I’m not gonna say any names, but like, damn. ‘What’d you sign that for?’ We won though, so it’s all good. I’m sure he’ll be fine”

However the deal is viewed, MacKinnon got paid, and handsomely. It's a strong deal for both the team and player as they look to repeat as champions in the 2022-23 campaign.

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