It was only a matter of time.

The Avalanche announced on Tuesday that star center Nathan MacKinnon has signed an eight-year extension. The deal is reportedly worth $100.8 million, meaning his $12.6 million annual average value is the highest in the NHL.

“Nathan is obviously one of the premier players in the NHL so a long-term extension was something we wanted to get done before the season started,” Avs general manager Chris MacFarland said in a team release.

MacKinnon’s contract will be paid mostly in signing bonuses. Of the total salary, $85.34 million will be paid on July 1 over the eight years. The $16.5 million he’s slated to make in 2023-24 and in 2024-25 is the second-highest total any NHL player has made in one season.

The deal also includes a full no-movement clause, effective immediately.

MacKinnon is entering the final year of a seven-year, $44.1 million deal — which has been easily the most team-friendly and underpaid contract in the NHL. His $6.3 million salary is the fourth highest on the Avs.

Since signing that deal, MacKinnon has been a Hart Trophy finalist as league M.V.P. three times (2017-18, 2018-19 and 2020-21). He also won the 2020 Lady Byng Award and was named the youngest ever Calder-Trophy winner in 2014, awarded to the NHL rookie of the year.

Since being drafted No. 1 overall in 2013, MacKinnon has scored 242 goals and tallied 648 points in 638 regular-season games. He also has 93 points in 70 career playoff games, recording the third-highest points-per-game pace (1.33) in postseason history, trailing only Wayne Gretzky (1.84) and Mario Lemieux (1.61).

MacKinnon led the NHL with 13 playoff goals in 2022 en route to his first Stanley Cup championship

“He has that rare combination of speed and power with a high compete level that makes him a generational player,” MacFarland said. “We are thrilled he will continue to be a member of this team and this community for many years to come.”

Aarif Deen is our Colorado Avalanche beat reporter. He covers Avs games live from Ball Arena and attends practices, media availabilities and other events pertaining to the Avs on the daily beat. He is also a co-host of Hockey Mountain High: Your go-to Avalanche Podcast. Deen joined Mile High Sports upon completion of his bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Before Mile High Sports, Deen worked for the Michigan Wolverines Athletics Department as the assistant sports information director.
Follow him on Twitter @runwriteAarif

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