DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Avalanche locked in Nathan MacKinnon for another eight years after signing him to a new contract.

MacKinnon signed for $12.6 million per year, making him the highest-paid player in the NHL. His new contract begins after this season, as it’s the last of his current seven-year contract he signed in 2016. He was making $6.3 million.

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

MacKinnon was Colorado’s first overall pick in the 2013 NHL draft and has proven to be an elite player with league-leading numbers and consistent play. In his career 638 games, the 27-year-old has scored a total of 648 points, averaging about a point per game.

“I think the term was the most important thing. I just wanted to be here for the rest of my career. Hopefully I get another deal after this too but the eight years was really important,” MacKinnon said in a conference after a charity golf tournament Tuesday.

“It was more just about being here forever. I always admire players who were with one franchise and that’s pretty special and I’d like to remain, obviously remain that as well my whole career,” MacKinnon said.

He was second highest in points for the team’s Stanley Cup-winning season with 88 points in the regular season and 24 points in the postseason.

MacKinnon’s 93 points in 70 playoff games rank him the third-highest points/game average in postseason history behind only Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. 

MacKinnon won the Lady Byng Award in 2020 and was the youngest player to ever win the Calder Trophy when he earned it in 2014.

Along with his outstanding NHL career, MacKinnon won a gold medal with Team Canada in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships in 2015. He also played in the IIHF World Junior Championship in 2013.