The defending Stanley Cup Champion Colorado Avalanche have re-signed superstar center Nathan Mackinnon to a new contract. It’s an eight-year deal worth $12.6 million AAV, which makes him the highest-paid player in the NHL starting next season. He has one year left on his current $6.3 million deal.
You can get the full report on Mackinnon from Colorado Hockey Now. Today we’re focusing on what this means for the Vegas Golden Knights, their rivalry with the Avalanche, and Jack Eichel.
This deal obviously means a whole lot more of Mackinnon in the Western Conference for the next nine years. It also somewhat guarantees the Avalanche will remain competitive throughout this contract, given Mackinnon’s age (27) and the core of players around him, such as 23-yeard old Cale Makar.
More Mack and Avs
In his career against the Golden Knights, Mackinnon has four goals and 13 assists for 17 points in 19 games. The Golden Knights and Avalanche’s record against each other is currently at a 13-13 stalemate.
The two teams have met once in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, in 2021, where the VGK won the series four games to two. The Avalanche won the Stanley Cup this past season but did not have to go through the Golden Knights in their pursuit of the Finals, given that the VGK failed to even make the playoffs.
This deal doesn’t change anything in terms of the Avalanche’s roster (yet) as it ensures Mackinnon stays.
What it does do is solidify the direction of the Avalanche and how they will remain competitive in the West for years to come, with Mackinnon and Makar at the helm of the ship. If the Golden Knights want to compete for the Stanley Cup, they are going to have to go through the Avalanche.
Salary Cap Impact
The Golden Knights have a few players on their roster that could be making Mackinnon-level money if their contracts were suddenly up today. Jack Eichel is the obvious name. He currently carries a $10 million cap hit which takes up 12.1 of the Golden Knight’s cap space. Mackinnons will take up 15.27%.
At a different position, Mark Stone makes $9.5 million, which is 11.5% of the cap. A good comparison with the Avalanche (in terms of money) for Stone would be Gabriel Landeskog, who makes $7 million.
On defense, the Avalanche have Cale Makar at $9 million, and the VGK have Alex Pietrangelo at $8.8.
I also bring these numbers up, specifically in regard to Eichel, whose contract will be over sooner than you know it. He has four years left on the deal that he signed with the Buffalo Sabres at $10 million.
If Eichel rebounds and becomes one of the top centers in the league again, could he be in this price range? Just something to keep an eye out for.
Connor McDavid’s current $12.5 million expires in four years’ time as well. But before that the current contracts of Mat Barzal, Sebastian Aho, Elias Pettersson, Auston Matthews, Leon Draisaitl, John Tavares, and Sidney Crosby will expire, surely increasing the market for top centers even more.
The salary cap will continue to increase, and looking way down the line, I could see Eichel making nearly $15 million plus in four years’ time.