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July 08, 2016

DENVER (AP) The Colorado Avalanche have signed forward Nathan MacKinnon to a $44.1 million, seven-year deal that runs through the 2022-23 season.

The 20-year-old MacKinnon had 21 goals and 31 assists last season. He missed the last 10 games after he sprained a ligament in his knee. MacKinnon also sat out the final 18 games a year ago because of a broken foot.

He was the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft and went on to win the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie.

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''Signing Nathan to a long-term contract was a priority this offseason,'' Colorado general manager Joe Sakic said Friday in a release. ''He is going to be a key part of our team for many years to come and it was important to secure his rights moving forward.''

The Avalanche missed the postseason for a second straight year, but are banking heavily on a rebound behind a young nucleus that also includes Matt Duchene and captain Gabriel Landeskog.

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''The pressure has risen since signing this,'' said MacKinnon, who is from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and will spend time this offseason working out with Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby. ''They're making it a point that they want me to help get us back to the Cup. That's the simple goal behind this.

''I really think the players we have, the young guys we have, the veterans - we have a very good mix. It's been a disappointing couple of seasons. But I truly believe we're going to be a very strong team and a contender for years to come.''

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