Last week Nathan MacKinnon finally signed the deal that will make him a Colorado Avalanche for the next eight years. This is a huge signing, as obviously MacKinnon is one of the top players in the NHL. However, this is not just any signing. This contract now makes Nathan MacKinnon the highest paid player in NHL history as he will be receiving 12.6 million dollars annually. So, like any signing these days, it has come with a little bit of controversy amongst Avalanche fans. Was this contract worth it for the Avalanche?
Long Term Effect
One thing that I do like about this signing is that it almost guarantees MacKinnon will be an Avalanche for life. While this won’t be a surprise to anyone, it is nice to know. It will also keep MacKinnon with the other core Avalanche players for many years to come. When you think of the core players for Colorado, you think of guys like Gabe Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen, Cale Makar, and Val Nichushkin. They are all signed on long-term deals, and you can now add MacKinnon to that list. Last season, the Avs proved that your depth is just as important to a winning team as your stars are, however it is still mightily important to have a good number of stars on your team. Now that Mack is signed for the next eight years, it just adds to that number for the long-term.
Salary Cap is Raising
It is also important to remember that the NHL Salary Cap is going up, and may continue to go up. From last season, the cap raised by one million dollars, and there is a possibility that it could continue to go up. If this is the case, than obviously this won’t be as big of a cap hit as it appears to be. Contract sizes will start to rise, and I believe that there will be at least 3 players to surpass MacKinnon in pay over the next couple of years. This signing is going to trigger a series of huge numbers on contracts for some of the best in the league, and I could see MacKinnon even maybe falling out of the top five highest paid players in the near future, should the cap continue to increase.
Avs will Have Space
There is one player from the Avalanche specifically that will also help recover a little bit of cap space once this season is over, and that is Erik Johnson. EJ is on the last year of his current contract in which he is being paid 6 million dollars. While Johnson is a good player and a great leader, age and injuries have unfortunately caught up to him and he is certainly not worth that much money anymore. At the age of 33 years old, and his contract expiring, there is a chance that he retires at the end of the season and even if he does sing a new contract, it will be much less than 6 million. Whether EJ retires or not, the Avs will be able to recover a little bit of the cap space lost with MacKinnon’s signing.
It’s Well Worth It
Some may say that this is too much money, and after all those years of low contracts, they were hoping to see MacKinnon take less, however he is more than deserving of this. He has spent his whole career as one of the best players in the league, but still has not had a contract over 7 million dollars. He is a top three player in the league, and his drive to win is unbeatable. He is one of the rare players in the league that makes everyone around him better, not just because of what he does on the ice, but also off of it. MacKinnon deserves this money, and in my opinion, it will not take as big of a cap it as it appears on paper. I think that for the reason’s I just listed, this signing is well worth it for the Avalanche, and there really isn’t much of an argument against it.