Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic is confident that Nathan MacKinnon will be under contract before training camp. He just isn’t sure what kind of deal it will be.
A restricted free agent, MacKinnon obviously would prefer a long-term contract with the chance for unrestricted free agency afterward. Sakic, however, could have a short deal that would ultimately put MacKinnon in an identical situation as a restricted free agent.
“Whatever the two parties decide,” Sakic told the Denver Post. “We had initial talks. Not much lately, but I’m sure it’s going to heat up in the summer. And I’m sure we’ll have it done by training camp.”
The first overall pick of the 2013 draft, MacKinnon had a stellar rookie season in 2013-14, recording 24 goals and 39 assists in 82 games en route to winning the Calder Trophy. He became the third player in Avalanche history to capture the award, joining Chris Drury and current captain Gabriel Landeskog.
MacKinnon took a step back the following season as he registered only 14 tallies and 38 points in 64 contests. The 20-year-old bounced back a bit in 2015-16, once again eclipsing the 20-goal plateau with 21 and adding 31 assists in 72 games.
A native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, MacKinnon scored two goals and set up 10 others in seven games during his lone postseason appearance in 2013-14. The 6-foot, 195-pound center, who holds the honor of being the youngest player in Avalanche history to record a hat trick, helped Canada capture the gold medal at the 2015 IIHF World Championship by notching four goals and five assists in 10 contests.