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Fresh off 2022 Stanley Cup championship, MacKinnon signs massive extension with Avalanche


After signing a contract that makes him the highest-paid NHL player per year, Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon posted on his Instagram that he is “Avalanche for life.”

The Avalanche on Tuesday signed MacKinnon to an eight-year contract extension starting in 2023-24 (runs through 2030-31) with an average annual value of $12.6 million. He has one year left on his current deal that he signed on July 8, 2016.

“Nathan is obviously one of the premier players in the NHL, so a long-term extension was something we wanted to get done before the season started,” said Avalanche GM Chris MacFarland. “He has that rare combination of speed and power with a high compete level that makes him a generational player. We are thrilled he will continue to be a member of this team and this community for many years to come.”

The first overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, MacKinnon was a finalist for the Hart Trophy in three of the last five seasons (2017-18, 2018-19, 2020-21). He won the 2020 Lady Byng Award and 2014 Calder Trophy and was named to the NHL’s Second All-Star Team in both 2017-18 and 2019-20.

MacKinnon finished second on the Avalanche with 88 points (32 goals, 56 assists) in 65 games during the 2021-22 campaign.

The 27-year-old helped the Avalanche win the 2022 Stanley Cup after tallying 13 goals and 24 points in 20 postseason games. His 13 goals tied for the league lead and equaled the second highest total in a single postseason in franchise history (Joe Sakic, 18, 1996).

“I had a sense the whole time it was going to get done eventually; it was only a matter of time,” MacKinnon said. “It was a relief. I didn’t want to play out the season without a deal. I didn’t want to talk about it or think about it. I just want to be part of the team and try and win another Cup this season.”

Heading into what will be his 10th NHL season this fall, MacKinnon has tallied 648 points (242 goals, 406 assists) in 638 career regular-season games, ranking sixth on the franchise’s all-time scoring list.

MacKinnon’s 638 points, 242 goals and 406 assists are the fourth most by an Avalanche player since the franchise relocated to Denver in 1995. No player from the 2013 NHL Draft has more goals, assists or points than MacKinnon.

“Nathan’s a No. 1 center, a franchise center,” MacFarland said. “They’re unicorns. There’s not 31 of them in the league. What he does for us is really important. To have him locked up for nine years is really crucial for the short- and long-term planning for us. It’s a big day.”

Going forward into the upcoming 2022-23 season, MacKinnon wants to see the Avalanche lift the Stanley Cup again.

“We’re not planning on just winning one,” MacKinnon said. “There’s always pressure. We have experience now. We’ve been through a lot as a group. We have most of our guys back. There’s no reason why we can’t repeat.”

Photo/Colorado Avalanche

— Matt Mackinder

(September 21, 2022)

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