Avalanche sign MacKinnon to seven-year contract extension, reportedly worth $44.1M

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The Colorado Avalanche have signed center Nathan MacKinnon to a long-term contract extension.

It’s a seven-year deal, worth a reported total value of $44.1 million and a cap hit of $6.3 million, as per Mike Chambers of the Denver Post. The new contract will take MacKinnon, the first overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, into unrestricted free agency when it expires at the end of the 2022-23 season.

It also includes a modified no-trade clause in the final three years, according to General Fanager.

“Signing Nathan to a long-term contract was a priority this offseason,” said Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic in a statement.

“He is going to be a key part of our team for many years to come and it was important to secure his rights moving forward.”

This past season, the 20-year-old MacKinnon scored 21 goals and 52 points in 72 games. But from March 18, he missed the remainder of the regular season due to a knee injury suffered during the stretch drive.

MacKinnon said he’s “totally recovered” from his knee injury, and has been training for about a month-and-a-half.

Re-signing MacKinnon comes a week after the club signed defensemen Patrick Wiercioch and Fedor Tyutin and forward Joe Colborne to begin free agency.

The Avalanche made the playoffs in MacKinnon’s first year, leading the Central Division with a 52-22-8 record and 112 points. But those winning ways haven’t been sustainable, as Colorado has missed the playoffs each of the last two seasons.

This year’s shortfall led to coach Patrick Roy to call out the team’s core group of players, which includes Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog and MacKinnon, for a lack of leadership.

“Even before the contract, I think everybody on the team has a little chip that we can be better. I think we’re really going to challenges ourselves,” said MacKinnon in a conference call.

“Me, personally, I’ve never felt more motivated than I have these past couple of months. I feel like I have a lot to prove in this league. I can take my game to a whole other level.”