Latest Colorado Avalanche speculation and guessing which young NHL defenseman gets a big contract extension.

Could Nathan MacKinnon's next contract affect Connor McDavid's next deal?

Could Nathan MacKinnon’s next contract affect Connor McDavid’s next deal?

ESPN.COM: Craig Custance believes whatever Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon receives on his new contract will affect how much the Edmonton Oilers eventually pay Connor McDavid on his new deal. Custance speculates MacKinnon, who’s in the final season of a three-year entry-level contract, could receive $6 million annually on a seven-year deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If MacKinnon rebounds strongly from his sophomore slump, I’m guessing he’ll seek something comparable to St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (eight years, $60 million). Remember, MacKinnon won the Calder Trophy in 2014, so any significant improvement this season could put him in Tarasenko territory. If McDavid meets or exceeds expectations, he’ll command much more. 

Custance believes the Avs most pressing need is re-signing defenseman Erik Johnson, who’s eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency. Given Johnson’s value to the Colorado blueline, Custance believes he’ll get a seven- or eight-year deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. I recently included Johnson in a Bleacher Report piece predicting which NHL stars could be next to receive big-money extensions. I’m guessing $7 million annually for him. 

With the Edmonton Oilers re-signing promising young defenseman Oscar Klefbom to a seven-year deal worth over $4 million annually, Custance speculates over which young NHL blueliner could be next to receive a lengthy extension. Olli Maatta of the Pittsburgh Penguins is one option, but given his spate of injuries, the Pens aren’t in a rush to re-sign him. A more likely candidate could be Nashville Predators d-man Seth Jones.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Maatta stays healthy and has a good outing this season, he could get a Klefbom-type deal. As for Jones, he’ll get a long-term extension but I think it’ll be worth much more than $4.167 million.