Look around the league at the price tags attached to the marquee names in the NHL, and a few outliers become absurdly apparent.
And then there’s Nathan MacKinnon, who sits tied for the third-most points in the league despite losing both of his star linemates to injury early in the year. And this after earning a Hart Trophy nomination two years ago and posting a career-high 41-goal, 99-point effort last season.
All for the price of $6.3 million per year against the cap.
While the team-friendly deal may be a tough pill to swallow for fans of clubs paying stars far more for similar or less impressive production, MacKinnon is under no illusions as to why his deal is such a bargain.
“Obviously it’s pretty (team) friendly now, but I was worth that at the time,” the Colorado Avalanche captain told Forbes’ Jordan Horrobin on Wednesday. “…I have no regrets.”
While the past two seasons of the 2013 No. 1 pick’s career have made his cap hit seem like one of the best contracts in the league, MacKinnon was coming off a 52-point season when he inked the deal and posted just 53 in Year 1 of the seven-year contract.
But with Colorado’s bet on their prized prospect paying off in the form of all-world production for a reasonable sum, the club has been gifted a game-changing financial situation to work with — one that allowed them to lay down market value for fellow star Mikko Rantanen, who earned a six-year, $55.5-million deal in September that pays him almost $3 million more than MacKinnon annually.
That advantage isn’t lost on No. 29.
“We have guys that we wouldn’t (otherwise) be able to bring in,” MacKinnon told Horrobin.
“On my next deal, I’ll take less again. Because I want to win with this group.”