Nathan MacKinnon. Speed of a thunderbird, the strength of a thousand men, who is as skillful as a brain surgeon. What else can you say to describe the man who has been arguably the best player in the league and fan-favorite in Colorado?
The Mack-Attack will likely be back with the Colorado Avalanche and have a fancy amount of money in his pocket to go with it after his current deal expires at the end of next season.
On Thursday, Elliotte Friedman in his “32 Thoughts Podcast” suggested that MacKinnon may become the highest-paid player in the NHL, surpassing the current $12.5M deal Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid currently has.
New 32 Thoughts podcast…some news talk, then interviews with Leon Draisaitl and Bill Daly. Links to your preferred platform here: https://t.co/vU5PlpBsFV— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) August 25, 2022
Friedman on 32 Thoughts pod: Real possibility (not guaranteed) MacKinnon becomes highest paid player in the NHL.#GoAvsGo— Ian (@memekinnon) August 25, 2022
MacKinnon has been the heart of the Avalanche ever since he entered the team at just 18 years old back in the 2013-14 season after being drafted first overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. His first season was a success, which included a couple of playoff points in his first try at the Cup before being upset by the Minnesota Wild. He endured tough times alongside guys like Erik Johnson for the following years, relishing the chance to have playoff chances again.
Once the playoff appearances did make a return in 2018, his attention turned to winning the Stanley Cup. After four years of unsuccessful attempts, we all remember his infamous quote “I’m going into my ninth year and I haven’t won shit” after being defeated by the Vegas Golden Knights in the second round in 2021. His mentality grew exponentially from here on out.
MacKinnon: “I’m going into my 9th year next year and haven’t won shit.”#GoAvsGo @CBSDenver pic.twitter.com/FD7nZjD04b— Michael Spencer (@MichaelCBS4) June 11, 2021
MacKinnon is coming off of finally winning some shit with the Stanley Cup last season. While he didn’t win the Conn Smythe trophy thanks to a legendary performance from Cale Makar, he’s got to be feeling good especially after hosting a rambunctious parade of his own in Halifax. While he eyes another Cup this season, he is also eyeing a large extension coming his way as well.
The aforementioned Johnson is entering the final year of his contract and perhaps eyeing retirement at the end of the following season. His current $6M deal would then likely be moved over on top of MacKinnon’s current deal at $6.3M, topping off at $12.3M. However, they’d move more money his way with the expiration of other players currently on one-year deals like Darren Helm and Andrew Cogliano could be added on to his new deal.
A numerical value that has been thrown out there is $14.5M, but if the number were that high the deal should’ve already been signed. Since there have been little rumblings about what will come out of the Avalanche front office and MacKinnon’s team financially, it could be anything from $12M to $14M AAV at this point in time. However, with the cap looking to rise in the future, it may not hurt the Avs to give MacKinnon the more money he desires.
The Avs do need to be careful, however. They were close to losing a star player last summer with Gabriel Landeskog after waiting until just before free agency opened. They will not want to make the same mistake with MacKinnon who would probably make a much bigger splash if No. 29 were to hit the market.
While that seems extremely unlikely at the moment, the Avs just have to be careful with what they do. They will not want to lose 242 goals and 406 assists that they’ve had from Mack now for nearly 10 years. A deal will be done, no doubt about that. Whether it’s with the Avs or another team, the number attached to the contract will be one that piques interest when signing day comes.