At this time last offseason, Nathan MacKinnon was probably working out harder than he’d ever done in his life. A native of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, MacKinnon trains in the summer with that other NHL player from his hometown – Sidney Crosby. You can bet that this time last summer Nathan MacKinnon was tired, sore, hopeful, and full of determination.
He was coming off of a hard sophomore slump where he had 38 points and went -7 on the season. During his rookie year he set the NHL on fire with 63 points, a number that helped him win the Calder Memorial Trophy.
So what’s MacKinnon doing this offseason?
Signing a seven year, almost $50 million contract with the Colorado Avalanche.
Nathan MacKinnon is one of a few younger players on the Avalanche with the potential to be an offensive juggernaut. Avs general manager Joe Sakic is betting big on MacKinnon to find solid scoring ground with Landeskog and Duchene right beside him. These three players make up the foundation of the team, and the potential for an all-star offense is definitely there.
But for now, that’s pretty much all it is: potential.
The Avalanche have plenty of adjustments to make before they can be a serious competitor come playoff time. And MacKinnon needs to adjust right along with them.
Last season MacKinnon scored 21 goals and had 31 assists, which is definitely better than the year before, but it’s still not stellar. And the young star has been plagued with injuries over the last two seasons, although they’ve been nothing too serious.
So the new contract with the Avs is a huge show of faith, a big investment in the future from the front office. They believe that MacKinnon can do even better than he did that rookie year and the new contract was designed to make sure he does it with Colorado.
And of course, MacKinnon has said all the right things to the press after signing the deal. He’s in Colorado to get them back to the playoffs, he’s going to have the best year of his young career, and he’s glad to know that he can stay in Denver, a place he now thinks of as his home.
MacKinnon will go back to his offseason training and maybe push a little harder with the team’s confidence behind him. He’ll probably start this next season with a little extra zip, an urge to prove that he’s worth every bit of the time and money.
So will it work out for him and the Avs?
We’ll know in seven years.