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DATER: Nathan MacKinnon Gets Best Of Both Worlds With New Avalanche Contract



MacKinnon Avalanche

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.

$20 Dollar Bonus Voucher!

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.

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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Karl Keen

I love you Dater, but I have to admit I was coming on here to rip on you or tell you your “source” played you, but you beat me to it.

Oh well, it happens.

On a side note, is Landy healthy? I got the feeling a bit in the playoffs his knee was needing a scope and he has yet to informally practice this year.

Karl Keen

I just saw he was playing in a golf tourney so his knee must be good

Victory Donald

What about Landy?


Nathan MacKinnon is a rare superstar who values winning above all else. Sure, he could have waited it out and received more money but he won’t be hurting, financially, and he has the security of a long term contract with one team – – a real rarity in any sport. Plus – Nathan wants his name on the Stanley Cup a couple more times, at least. By taking a team friendly contract before, he enabled the Avalanche to build around him which led to their Stanley Cup winning season. And, with the cap going up in the next few years,… Read more »

Aaron Rud

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again- I’d rather win than make every last dollar. When these guys are making the money they do, a million or three doesn’t mean crap. Unfortunately, most are too proud and stupid to realize that. Glad MacKinnon did. (Maybe?)


Not that I disagree with what you’re saying…But Mack did not take a “team-friendly” contract in 2016. The season before he signed that deal he had only 52 points. The first season of his that deal, 53 points. It couldn’t be called team-friendly unless your name is Rasputin…

I would definitely consider this new contract more team-friendly than the last. I was honestly expecting ~$13.5 AAV.

Victory Donald

He could have been a bust. You are correct. He learned how to play the game and still must as his speed will eventually diminish.


Disagree based on where he was initially drafted, the length of his contract and how his numbers progressed. Mac’s career took off once Duchene was traded. The Avs went through some lean years but the Duchene trade along with Cale Makar dropping in the draft made the Avs the team they are today. No one could see that coming. A combination of luck and skillful trade acquisitions. And having it become Nate’s team once Dutchy left. At any rate – a great deal for both the Avs and MacKinnon.

Victory Donald

Nate has earned plus will earn close to $180 million over 17 years. He has enough. How much does one need? Hookers and drugs won’t get you much over the long run. Ask WJC!


Need has nothing to do with it. How much you are worth is all that matters.

Gary Battman

Right money you cannot spend ever!

Laurie Mullen

Music to every Avs fan. Psyched to watch Nat dog compete here in CO for many years to come!

Ryan Krueger

Good for Nate. He is worth every penny.

Big MacK, please!

Big MacK previously said, “what do I need with all that money? I’m a simple guy from Canada.” Or something like that. I think he’s NOT greedy. I know you and I would have a hard time living out our days on $100 mil, but Nate Dog lives a simpler lifestyle than you and me, Dater.

Gary Battman

Hell if he manages it well he will make $10M a year in interest income long after playing!

Jared Moss

I didn’t say it publicly but man I knew for his ego he was gonna be above McDavid, good for him, is it worth it only time will tell, also yeah what is up with landy? And who’s looking better at informal skates, Georgie or frankie ?!

Aaron Rud

Funny how ego works. I could care less about making more than everyone. I want comfort and wins.

Gary Battman

I hope his ego is more fragile than his body!


My Lord. Nate got a pretty sweet, front-loaded deal. Over $16M per in the first three years. Some healthy signing bonuses too.

Good luck Nate, now go out and repeat the 2022 Stanley Cup WIN

Adam Manter

The Mack Attack is Back!

Karl Keen

Ha, wow McDavid throwing shade at Mac! Really funny considering he gave Edmonton zero discount knowing the team was missing many parts to help it improve. Dumb move by McDavid. Mac will be primed every game against them to show him what’s up!

Aaron Rud

What did he say?

Karl Keen

McDavid considers being surpassed as the highest-paid player, “good for hockey, I guess, to keep raising the bar.”

“But ultimately the salary cap system’s a weird system where the more money you make, the less money someone else can make,” McDavid added. “It’s kind of a weird system that way. There’s always going to be give and take.”


Actually I believe Edmonton was offering him $15 at the time. But he turned that down for a lower number so that they could add other parts.


Wow. Quite a bit better than I expected, for the team and fans sake.

Ted Grycel

Dater, What I’ve come to appreciate about you, you are honest and that’s why I’ve followed you from the start. The people that get played get my respect, at least they are man enough to say so, no like the one trying to set someone up. Stay true to who you are A.D>, it’s your best quality. I think of how the best athletes in Denver, (all hockey players) make the least amount of money from the sweat, blood, grit, determination to win, and actually show some loyalty to their club. I look at Hackett pulling Wilson and choosing to… Read more »


Now wait a minute! I had a busy day at work and saw in my notifications that you had tweeted the deal. After a long day I hit the hot tub and it’s time for dessert, which is CHN. Carefully cradling my iPhone above the bubbling waters, I read 2 great articles by you including this one, along with all the usual great comments from your readers. What’s that you say about doing a better job? Keep up the great work, AD!

Ted Grycel

2nd that !!

Bob Neal

I always enjoy reading your stuff and hopefully you can talk Terry into writing occasionally. Please stop criticizing yourself. I think that this site is great and enjoy reading you and all the subscribers. True hockey fans. Enjoy Germany and don’t drink too much beer.

Matt Briggle

Great deal for both sides indeed. I was already dreading the extra salary cap casualties they would have if this came in at $14 or more. Everyone has pretty much said everything I think about it so far. I will push back slightly on one thing that keeps getting said, but not thought about – He could have gotten a lot more if he hit the open market. Sure, he could have gotten a higher AAV, but it would have to be more than $14.4 AAV to be more total money overall and one less year. The other thing is… Read more »

Chris Cook

Anyone can report the news. It takes something extra to predict and speculate. You have to put yourself out there. No apologies necessary Adrian. You are the OG of Denver hockey writers. And you did indeed nail the fact that he would become the highest paid player. Props to you. It’s easy for people on the sidelines to take shots at you. Your passion is obvious and appreciated.

Victory Donald

Thank you Nate. Like Franky — but unlike Miakko — it is not all about the money. If you truly care about the franchise and winning the Cup multiple times, you don’t hold out for more money than you are worth and hamstring the team. Just turned 27, he is primed to win a few more Stanleys.

Last edited 9 days ago by Victory Donald
Victory Donald

Nate is no Pauly Walnuts, whose name will never grace the Cup despite his journeyman efforts!

Jared Moss

Dater, Just looked at his contract breakdown, and was wondering how come most players Want their money in signing bonus and not salary, would you not get taxed worse with a lump sum of 15m, rather than spread out in salary… or is there another reason they do this? Curious if you have any insight


Messi cried because he was “forced” to leave Barca due to the fact that they couldn’t pay him his $50 mil/year salary. The guy was actually crying… Shameful.

Everything is relative but these NHL contracts pale in comparison to other sports.

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