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Avalanche sign first-overall pick Nathan MacKinnon to entry-level contract

DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche have signed first-overall draft pick Nathan MacKinnon to a three-year, entry-level contract.

MacKinnon is coming off a championship season where he led the Halifax Mooseheads to their first-ever Quebec Major Junior Hockey League title and first-ever Memorial Cup championship.

He was named most valuable player of the 2013 Memorial Cup after recording a tournament-high 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in only four games, which included a hat trick and five points in the final against Portland.

During the 2012-13 regular season, MacKinnon had 32 goals and 43 assists in 44 contests for Halifax, averaging 1.70 points-per-game. He finished tied for fourth on the Mooseheads in scoring and had a plus-40 rating.

MacKinnon went on to score 11 goals and add 22 assists in 17 playoff games as the Mooseheads won the QMJHL championship.

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MacKinnon represented Canada at the 2013 world junior championship in Ufa, Russia. The six-foot, 182-pound centre appeared in all six of Canada’s games at the tournament, posting one assist.

“The signing of this first NHL contract represents for me another step towards becoming a professional hockey player,” the Halifax native said. “I am excited and thrilled to have been drafted by the Avalanche, and I am already working very hard in order to be ready physically and mentally for training camp.”

MacKinnon was just the third 17-year-old drafted No. 1 overall in the last 26 years.