Nathan MacKinnon today can say he’s the highest-paid player in the NHL, which is something that gives him inner justice and peace, after being known by many as the biggest bargain in all of pro sports – i.e., he might have taken too light of an offer on his last deal, at least in hindsight. But Nathan MacKinnon can also justifiably say, “I took one for the team too” with a deal that could, again in hindsight some day, look like a very team-friendly deal.
For MacKinnon, a win. For the Colorado Avalanche, a win. Isn’t the best definition of a good deal one in which both sides had to give a little bit?
I know I look dumb for a tweet Monday saying I had heard things weren’t as close as people might have thought on a deal, despite MacKinnon himself saying that last week. Did I get played by a source telling me otherwise? Maybe. It happens sometimes. Or, maybe that was correct yesterday, that things weren’t as close as people thought, and it all came together real, REAL fast lol? (It’s funny, a lot of people roasted me on Twitter too, for first writing not long ago that MacKinnon wanted to be the highest-paid player in the league when his next deal was signed, saying that was outlandish and I’d be wrong, etc. The bottom line as always with social media: You can’t win.)
I’ll sort that out later, but the bottom line is Nathan MacKinnon is under contract with the Colorado Avalanche for a long time. And, again, MacKinnon can truthfully claim that he probably left a lot of money on the table that he could have gotten had he held out longer and/or left as a UFA next year.
With the salary cap expected to go up a lot in a couple years, MacKinnon could have easily commanded, I would say, at least $14 million on his next deal. Maybe something like $15 million or $16 million. Do you not think there wouldn’t be at least one NHL out there that would give him whatever limit there is for a player of his caliber?
I think that might have been what his agent and the NHLPA might have liked, a deal even more north of $12.6 million he got today. But in the end, the player is the boss. I think, if this were up to those two entities, this thing might still be dragging on.
But MacKinnon obviously didn’t want this as a distraction all year long with his team, a championship team. He obviously wanted this done sooner than later, and so here we are.