The Nathan MacKinnon contract and how it affects the Leafs

You had to know this post was coming right? And it probably doesn’t take much effort to guess at how this affects the Leafs. So let’s jump right into the inevitable discussion of how Nathan MacKinnon’s contract will impact not only Auston Matthews’ next contract, but likely Mitch Marner’s next contract as well.
Here’s the contract:
$12.8 AAV for 8 years with a full no-movement clause throughout. The deal was signed when Nathan MacKinnon is 27 years old, the deal is front-loaded and pays him a $16.5M combined salary and signing bonus in year one, transitions in year 4 (2026-27) to $12.15M and drops to $9.9M in year 5 and stays at that until the end of his contract. MacKinnon’s contract is largely paid in signing bonuses and has an escalated salary to reflect the minimum salary being likely to rise. The signing bonus structure means it would be a gigantic pain in the ass to buy out. The one year (year 4, 2026-27) where the majority of MacKinnon’s contract is paid as salary instead of signing bonus coincides with the expiration of the current CBA. Based on the current salary cap of $82.5M, MacKinnon’s contract takes up 15.27% of the salary cap. That’s the import …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

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