MacKinnon’s record cap raises the bar for upcoming stars

The Colorado Avalanche locked up their biggest star on Tuesday, signing Nathan MacKinnon to an eight-year extension worth $100.8 million.

The deal, which carries a salary cap of $12.6 million once it takes effect before the 2023-24 season, will make MacKinnon the highest-paid player in the NHL, just above the average annual value of $12.5 million. of the agreement signed by Connor McDavid. with the Edmonton Oilers in July 2017. That ceiling is projected to represent 15.27 percent of the Colorado salary space.

There are, of course, multiple ways to define “highest paid” – there is the obvious impact of AAV/cap, but that doesn’t always equate to a player’s total salary. This season, for example, McDavid has the highest salary cap at $12.5 million, but will earn $12 million in salary on his contract. By CapFriendly, the highest-paid player in 2022-23 based on total salary is Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin at $13 million, followed by New York Rangers star Artemi Panarin ($12.5 million). Five players — the Panthers’ Aleksander Barkov and Sergei Bobrovsky, McDavid and fellow Oiler Darnell Nurse, and Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson — will each bring in $12 million in salary this upcoming season.

However, any way you look at it, MacKinnon will be the highest-paid player in the league in both cap and salary — he’s set to earn a whopping $16.5 million in salary once his new deal goes into effect. next July. (Filling out the top five salaries next season? Dougie Hamilton at $12.6 million, followed by Seth Jones, Kirill Kaprizov and Alex Ovechkin at $12.5 million. Alex Pietrangelo is sixth at $12.3 million.)

Fresh from winning a Stanley Cup and with Colorado’s core committed and ready for more, it was really just a matter of when, not if, MacKinnon would raise the bar for massive contracts. Long considered the biggest bargain in the league with the $6.3 million AAV of his current contract, once alluding to taking less money again in favor of allowing the team to sign more players. But ultimately, there is no question that he has proven his worth to the club. And by doing so, he opens the door for the next star player in line for a big payday.

For the sake of simplicity, and to better illustrate cap trends, we are setting our focus and definition of “highest paid” on AAV, looking at the most recent contracts that have set new standards in cap hits. (Spoiler alert: All but one of these players was a first overall pick in the draft.) From this we can see how contracts have changed and of course start to project what the MacKinnon deal could mean for the Following highest paid player

July 5, 2017: Connor McDavid signs an eight-year, $100 million deal

After drafting him first overall in 2015, and then making him the youngest captain in NHL history, in 2016, the Oilers spent five days in Connor McDavid’s window as a pending restricted free agent eligible for extension in the summer of 2017 to ensure he is lifted for the long haul and made the highest-paid player in the league, and by a pretty wide margin. Its cap of $12.5 million came in at $2 million more than the previous high water mark. At the time of signing, McDavid’s AAV represented 16.67 percent of Edmonton’s salary cap.

McDavid, then 20, had one year left on his entry-level contract – no bridge deal here! – And he had just won his first trio of trophies as the winner of Art Ross, Ted Lindsay and Hart in 2016-17.

The season after signing his extension, he won the Art Ross and Ted Lindsay again while still in his ELC; To date, he has won a total of four scoring titles, three Ted Lindsay Awards and two MVPs. Last spring, we also saw what a McDavid-fueled playoff run looks like: In 16 games, the center recorded 10 goals and 33 points. The Oilers were eliminated by MacKinnon’s Avalanche in the Western Conference finals, and yet despite not appearing in the Cup finals, McDavid finished as the league leader in playoff points. He will remain the highest-paid player in the NHL in terms of salary cap for the 2022-23 season.

July 9, 2014 – Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane sign eight-year, $84 million equivalent deals

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane’s careers will forever be intertwined, and that goes for their contract negotiations, too. The two set a new standard in July 2014 when they signed eight-year equivalent deals, each capped at $10.5 million. Each of the deals represented 15.22 percent of Chicago’s cap.

This was not the first time that this couple signed identical agreements on the same day. Five years before the Blackhawks made them the highest-paid players in the league (and kept pending UFAs miles away from the open market), Toews and Kane signed their first big-money deals in December 2009 as still-pending RFAs. in their respective entry-level contracts. The deals were each for $31.5 million over five years, with cap hits of $6.3 million.

The $84 million deals in 2014 were significant not only because they gave players the highest cap hits in NHL history at the time (and the first to get into double-digit AAV), but also they marked the first mega deals since the 2013 lockout changed the way contracts are built. Teams could no longer dole out massive terms and circumvent the salary cap by significantly advancing contracts in exchange for additional years at low pay at the end of the deal.

The Blackhawks enjoyed historic success with Toews and Kane as longtime franchise mainstays. A year after locking them up long-term, the duo lifted Chicago’s third Stanley Cup in six years, though technically they still had those five-year contracts they had signed in 2009. In effect to open the 2015-16 season, the Blackhawks they have not been able to add to the success of the championship.

Now, as they enter the final season of these contracts, the biggest question for Toews and Kane is whether they will actually finish those deals that still have Blackhawks threads.

Fun fact: Netminder Carey Price spent just three days in the shared spotlight as the NHL’s highest-paid player in terms of AAV along with Toews and Kane when he signed his eight-year extension with the Montreal Canadiens on July 2, 2017. The deal McDavid’s closed on July 5. .

January 10, 2008: Alex Ovechkin signs a 13-year, $124 million deal

Alex Ovechkin’s 13-year contract was obviously signed before the new CBA was introduced, limiting the maximum term of extensions to eight years. And yet, even with the 13-year term, the deal still gave the Washington Capitals captain the highest salary cap at the time at $9,538,462 per year. When he signed it, that AAV represented 18.96 percent of Washington’s salary cap. From the time it was signed until its expiration at the end of the 2020-21 season, the deal remained the largest in NHL history in terms of total value at $124 million. Considering what it has meant to the franchise and all the hardware it has brought over the years, including a long-awaited Stanley Cup in the spring of 2018, it proved worth the investment. Perhaps the biggest testament to that was the fact that, once he was ready for a new deal with Washington, they kept the same VPA. It will get an AAV of $9.5 million through 2025-26.

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