Who Are the Highest Paid NHL Stars?

September 30, 2021 By Shafeeq

Who Are the Highest Paid NHL Stars?

Due to the worldwide disruption in the past year, in January 2021, the National Hockey league launched its shortened season and welcomed a limited capacity of fans to three arenas.

For the NHL, a reduction in spectators dramatically impacts the league's revenue. Because in comparison to other major sports leagues in the US, which have well-paid TV contracts, most of the NHL's revenue is made up of tickets, concessions, parking, and sponsorships. As such, some players have suffered a reduction in their salaries this year.

While fans have found other ways to support their favourite teams, by making use of Canada opening up to betting operators and staying up to date with the action online. And top paid players this year, such as Toronto's Maple Leaf, Auston is still cashing in a significant amount of money for their efforts and commitment in the league. The proposed salaries of NHL stars compared to other sports leagues is quite extreme. For an overview of four major leagues and the significant difference in wages, here is some insight into the highest average salaries paid to sports professionals. 

NHL's top players earn significantly less than the highest-paid NBA, NFL, and MLB professionals.

Other than some leagues having the luxury of blockbuster television contracts, other factors that affect revenue in the above leagues are the rosters and division of funds.

For instance, the income for every league is divided across its roster of players. As such, while the NFL earns the most revenue. This is because it also has the largest roster. 

In comparison, the NBA has the smallest roster. Therefore, any earnings are divided between a smaller number of players, which is another reason why an NBA player, on average, has the highest salary out of the four major sports leagues mentioned. 

Moreover, each sports league divides its income differently. For example, in the NHL, there are 23 players maximum. But lesser experienced players still get a fair portion of the revenue in comparison to other leagues.

For instance, where the NFL has an average low salary of players at the end of the roster as $495,000. On the other hand, the lowest-paid wage in the NHL surpasses the NFL, chiming in at $750,000. So while the NHL players towards the top of the league may not get as much compared to other high profile players in alternative sports leagues. On the other hand, the newer and lesser experienced NHL players are taken care of better in a financial respect.

Despite the reductions and wage gap between the different leagues, NHL players are still incredibly fortunate to earn millions every year. And here we look at ten players starting with Auston Matthews from the Toronto Maple leaves, with an overview of what the top players make.

Auston Matthews - $15.9 million 

23-year-old center Auston edged out his teammate Mitch Marner to become the highest-paid NHL player this year, earning $15.9 million. The young player is one of a few Maples responsible for sharing the weight of hopes and expectations of the Leafs Cup this year.

Mitch Marner - $15 million

Also 23, Mitch falls almost a million shy of his teammate Auston's salary with $15 million. Despite signing a six-year contract that should earn the player just under $11 million a year. This season's contract is front-loaded. Thus speedy winger Mitch will cash in $15 mil in 2021.

Conor McDavid - $14 million

Edmonton Oilers captain, 24-year-old Connor, falls in third place as NHL's highest earner this year with £14 million, which isn't far behind his training buddy Auston. 

Artemi Panarin - $13 million

Russian winger Artemi is 29 years old and another NHL millionaire. The sports pro annually earns a significant portion of his $81.5 million contract deal that he signed with the New York Rangers in 2019. 

To date, Artemi has made a great impression on his fans. For instance, his debut season features the player hitting the ground running, racking up 95 points, and achieving the fourth-highest points per game in the New York Rangers history.

Sergei Bobrovsky - $12 million

After the 32-year-old inked a $70 million contract with the Florida Panthers, committing to seven years with the team. The generous sum revealed the Panthers are enthusiastic about what the player can bring to the team.

Although, there appears to be competition on the horizon from Spencer Knight, gunning for the role as the goalie. Bobrosky was the highest-paid goalkeeper this year, earning $12 million.

John Tavares - $12 million 

Another one of Toronto's Maple Leafs earning big bucks is 30-year-old captain John Tavares. 

Working with the team was a lifelong dream for John. So signing a seven-year $77 million contract with Toronto was likely one of the biggest and most exciting highlights of his NHL career. 

This year Johnny Toronto will bank $12 million for his efforts.

Erik Karlsson - $12 million 

After signing an eight-year $92 million contract with the San Jose Sharks, 30-year-old Erik Karlson's time as an Ottawa Senator is long gone. 

On top of Karlson's agreement, he also received a generous signing bonus to the tune of $53 million. 

Until reaching UFA status in 2027, Erik has a lot of time to prove his talents on the ice with the Sharks.

As illustrated above, NHL players are by no means financially deprived for their work. And the matter of receiving less than other major sports leagues is due to numerous factors, such as television contracts, the number of players per roster, and the division of earnings between lower and higher ranking players. 

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