As a player in the NHL, you play to raise the Stanley Cup over your head at least once in your career. But let’s face it, you also play for that check that hits your bank account.
While playing in the NHL doesn’t pay nearly as much as the other major sports in the U.S., players can still make at least six-figures in the league. Most in the league will get a few million a year to go out and play the game of hockey.
Here is a look at some of the highest-paid NHL players, as well as some of the lowest paid.
Who has the highest cap hit this season?
Fittingly, the best player in the NHL also has the highest salary in the league.
The Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid’s cap hit of $12.5 million comes as the highest hit out of any player in the league. McDavid is in his fourth year of his eight-year, $100 million contract.
Artemi Panarin of the New York Rangers has the second-highest hit this season with $11.642 million. Behind him at No. 3 is the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthew, who has a cap hit of $11.640 million.
Here are the top 10 highest cap hits of the 2021-22 season.
1.Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers) -- $12,500,000
2. Artemi Panarin (New York Rangers) -- $11,642,875
3. Auston Matthews (Toronto Maple Leafs) -- $11,640,250
4. Erik Karlsson (San Jose Sharks) -- $11,500,000
T-5. John Tavares (Toronto Maple Leafs) -- $11,000,000
T-5. Drew Doughty (Los Angeles Kings) -- $11,000,000
7. Mitch Marner (Toronto Maple Leafs) -- $10,903,000
T-8. Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks) -- $10,500,000
T-8. Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks) -- $10,500,000
T-8. Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens) -- $10,500,000
Who has the lowest cap hit this season?
The lowest salary that can be given to a player for this season is $750,000. It’s the minimum salary set by the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL and the NHLPA.
There are a number of players that are playing on this salary for the year. They mostly consist of young players on their first standard contract, players signed to a two-way contract so they might not be full-time NHLers or veterans taking the minimum amount to stick around the game.
This season, among those getting paid the league minimum are veterans Zdeno Chara, Jason Spezza, Joe Thornton and Tyler Bozak. Some promising young players skating on the cheap deal are Zach Whitecloud, Nico Sturm, Morgan Geekie and Vitek Vanecek.
What is the average salary in the NHL?
There is no definitive “average” salary. However, given that each team has $81.5 million in cap space for this season, with 23 players allowed on the active roster, the average of that comes out to around $3.5 million per player.
Some notable players in the NHL playing on that cap hit are Lars Eller, Bryan Rust, Alexander Kerfoot, Brandon Montour and J.T. Compher.