The new-age debate among NHL fans isn’t simply what player is the best in the league right now. Instead, the debate has evolved into what player has the best contract, and Nathan MacKinnon is a name that is brought up consistently.
The Colorado Avalanche star signed a seven-year, $44.1-million deal during the summer of 2016, earning him a $6.3-million cap hit until 2023.
When he signed the contract at just 20-years-old, MacKinnon likely had no idea he would become one of the league’s top talents in just a few years.
“I was just excited to get paid that much money at such a young age,” MacKinnon told Forbes Magazine in Toronto. “Obviously it’s pretty (team) friendly now, but I was worth that at the time. I have no regrets.”
Since then, MacKinnon has placed second and sixth in MVP voting in consecutive seasons and has put up 293 points in 265 games. With that in mind it’s fair to say that he’s underpaid, but MacKinnon doesn’t waste much energy worrying about what his contract could have been.
Right now, his Avalanche are poised to make another run in the playoffs, sitting second in the Central Division with a 17-8-2 record.
Considering the team’s success, the top-line centre appears to be cool with his bargain contract if it means more cap space for the Avalanche to work with.
“We have guys that we wouldn’t (otherwise) be able to bring in,” MacKinnon said. “On my next deal, I’ll take less again. Because I want to win with this group.”
The ultimate teammate move.
MacKinnon could easily be considered for an eight-figure cap hit when negotiations come up in a few years, but he wants to keep it friendly enough for his future colleagues in Colorado. However, the Avalanche centre does stand up for players who want to get paid what they’re worth in big-money deals.
“I think you want to get paid what you’re worth,” he said. “I’d probably do the same thing. If a team isn’t paying you what you think you’re worth, holding out is something (players) are entitled to. I think it’s going to continue that way.”
Through 27 games this season, MacKinnon has 18 goals and 44 points.
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