ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) — Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon is ready to get the season started after signing a new 8-year deal with the team Tuesday, just in time as training camp opens Thursday.

MacKinnon and his agent have been working with the team in the offseason to finalize a new contract and that came to fruition Tuesday morning making him the highest-paid player in the NHL. MacKinnon physically, officially signed the several pages of paper with team management and ownership after a charity golf tournament in Castle Pines.

“It was a relief, I didn’t want to play out the season without a deal. I didn’t want to talk about it and think about it, I just wanted to be part of the team and try to go win another Cup this season,” MacKinnon said after he signed the new contract. “Big weight off my shoulders, obviously really lucky to get a deal like this. It feels great.”

This week’s scheduled training camp sessions at Family Sports Center are open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.

Thursday, Sept. 22
Group 1: 8:45 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Group 2: 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 23
Group 1: 8:45 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Group 2: 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 24
Group 1: 8:45 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Group 2: 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Locking in MacKinnon was the main focus for Avalanche management as his current contract expires after this season. The 27-year-old superstar committed to the franchise pretty much for the remainder of his career, as he said he wanted to do.

“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.

The Avs locked in Valeri Nichushkin for the next eight years. Defenseman Josh Manson re-signed for another four years to a contract worth $18 million. Forward Darren Helm signed a one-year contract with the Avalanche. Colorado inked forward Artturi Lehkonen to a five-year contract through the 2026-27 season worth $4.5 million per year.

The Avs also added forward Evan Rodrigues after Nazem Kadri signed a deal with the Calgary Flames.

Coach Jared Bednar said in a news conference Wednesday that Nichushkin will not fully participate in the start of training camp as he’s recovering from an injury but is hopeful that he’ll be ready to go when the season opens on Oct. 12.