Nathan McKinnon is officially the highest paid player in the NHL. On Tuesday, the Colorado Avalanche star signed an eight-year contract extension with the team that will pay him $12.6 million per season.
McKinnon was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2022/23 season.
Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid was previously the league’s highest-paid player with $12.5 million in annual earnings. McDavid extended his eight-year contract back in 2017.
During an NHL/NHLPA media tour Thursday near Las Vegas, McKinnon said he thought
“We’re pretty close,” McKinnon said at the time. “I would rather it be done. It gets emotional. Sometimes you feel like it’s personal. I would like to do it without being distracting at all.”
McKinnon had just finished a season in which he helped lead the Avalanche to their first Stanley Cup since 2001. The star center forward scored 88 points (32 goals, 56 goals) in the regular season and added 24 points (13 goals, 11 goals) throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Avalanche center has also been named a Hart Trophy finalist for league MVP in two of the last three seasons.
McKinnon’s contract extension ends a very busy off-season for the reigning Stanley Cup champions.
The Colorado have already re-signed winger Valery Nichuskin with an eight-year, $49 million extension, and winger Arturi Lehkonen with a five-year, $22.5 extension. Additionally, 2022 Norris Trophy-winning quarterback Cale Makar is locked out for the 2026-27 season after signing a six-year, $54 million contract in 2021.