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The 15 Highest Paid NHL Players of 2014-15

by: Esteban On  Monday, July 21, 2014

top nhl salaries (highest paid nhl players 2014-15)

Top hockey players don’t make anything close to what top basketball, football, or baseball players make. That being said, the NHL isn’t exactly the MLS. The salary cap for 2014-15 is a healthy $69 million, while every player in Major League Soccer combined will make just $115.3 million. So when it comes to earning power, hockey players are still in another league, to use an oddly accurate sports analogy.

Who will make the most money in the upcoming 2014-15 season? That’s the subject of today’s list. Take a look and find out. At the end of the day, most of us would rather be LeBron James than Sidney Crosby. But as you’ll see, being Sidney Crosby would be pretty awesome.

 

15. Steven Stamkos (Lightning)

15 steven stamkos - highest paid nhl players 2014-15 (highest nhl salaries 2014-15)

Contract: 5 years (2011-16), $37.5 million
Cap Hit: $8 million
2014-15 Salary: $8 million

Lightning GM Steve Yzerman was wise to lock this kid up for five years. His salary of $8 million is a bargain. The kid is only 24 years old and he already has 233 career goals. At this pace he could have 500 by the time he’s 30, which is insane.

 

14. Dion Phaneuf (Lightning)

14 dion phaneuf - highest paid nhl players 2014-15 (highest nhl salaries 2014-15)

Contract: 7 years (2014-21), $49 million
Cap Hit: $7 million
2014-15 Salary: $8 million

It’s hard to say how much Dion Phaneuf is actually worth, given that he plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who suck. Maybe if he played for a team with deep defensive corps like the Blackhawks or Blues we’d have a better idea what he’s really worth. But even still, seven years at an AAV of $7 million? That seems like a bit of an over-commitment by the Leafs. The guy will be 36 years old by the end of this thing.

Then again, by the end of Phaneuf’s contract the cap will be high enough that the super-rich Leafs can afford to pay him more than he’ll be worth.

 

13. Ryan Getzlaf (Ducks)

13 ryan getzlaf - highest paid nhl players 2014-15 (highest nhl salaries 2014-15)

Contract: 8 years (2013-21), $66 million
Cap Hit: $8.25 million
2014-15 Salary: $8.75 million

Starting next year, Anaheim’s best player (and one of the top three centers in the NHL) will crack $9 million for the first time. This year he’ll have to settle for $8.75 million. Oh the indignity!

 

12. Corey Perry (Ducks)

12 corey perry - highest paid nhl players 2014-15 (highest nhl salaries 2014-15)

Contract: 8 years (2013-21), $69 million
Cap Hit: $8.625
2014-15 Salary: $9 million

Ryan Getzlaf is probably the better overall player, but Corey Perry scores more goals. And since goals are extremely hard to come by in today’s NHL, goal scorers get bigger salaries.

That being said, this one does make Stamkos’s deal with the Lightning look that much better, doesn’t it?

 

11. Eric Staal (Hurricanes)

11 eric staal - highest paid nhl players 2014-15 (highest nhl salaries 2014-15)

Contract: 7 years (2009-16), $57.75 million
Cap Hit: $8.25 million
2014-15 Salary: $9.25 million

The Hurricanes did it right with this one. They locked their star center up early and gave him good money. However, they aren’t committed to him beyond his age 31 season. At that point, unless other teams are knee-deep in cash and desperate for a 32-year-old center, they can pay him a much more team-friendly deal than other teams will be paying their franchise players.

 

10. Evgeni Malkin (Penguins)

10 evgeni malkin - highest paid nhl players 2014-15 (highest nhl salaries 2014-15)

Contract: 8 years (2014-2022), $76 million
Cap Hit: $9.5 million
2014-15 Salary: $9.5 million

I will admit that, today, $9.5 million is a good price for a player of Geno’s caliber. He is, after all, a former MVP and one of the best players in the league. However, even factoring in inflation and a higher salary cap, it’s unlikely he’ll still be worth $9.5 million in 2021-22, when he’ll be 35 years old.

 

9. Pavel Datsyuk (Red Wings)

9 pavel datsyuk - highest paid nhl players 2014-15 (highest nhl salaries 2014-15)

Contract: 3 years (2014-17), $22.5 million
Cap Hit: $7.5 million
2014-15 Salary: $10 million

The Detroit Red Wings have been getting a steal for the last nine years. They’ve gotten Pavel Datsyuk, one of the two are three best all-around players in hockey, for just a hair over $6 million per season. That’s shrewd business skillz.

His current deal is a good one, too. Yeah, Datsyuk is 36 years old. But he’s shown no signs of slowing down, and after this season his salary drops to $7 million and then $5.5 million.

 

8. Phil Kessel (Maple Leafs)

8 phil kessel - highest paid nhl players 2014-15 (highest nhl salaries 2014-15)

Contract: 8 years (2014-22), $64 million
Cap Hit: $8 million
2014-15 Salary: $10 million

Some Maple Leafs fans bristled at the idea of trading a No. 1 draft pick for Phil Kessel. Then they bristled even more when that pick turned out ot be Tyler Seguin, who helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup.

Now, however, Phil Kessel is one of the NHL’s top goal scorers, while Seguin got shipped off to Dallas. So I guess in retrospect it wasn’t a bad deal after all.

 

7. Claude Giroux (Flyers)

7-claude-giroux-highest-paid-nhl-players-2014-15-highest-nhl-salaries-2014-15

Contract: 8 years (2014-22), $66.2 million
Cap Hit: $8.275
2014-15 Salary: $10 million

Like Phil Kessel, Claude Giroux is 26 years old. And like Phil Kessel, Claude Giroux will earn $10 million this season. However, unlike Phil Kessel, Claude Giroux is the Flyers captain, which I guess is worth an extra $275,000 per year for eight years.

 

6. Alex Ovechkin (Capitals)

6-alex-ovechkin-highest-paid-nhl-players-2014-15-highest-nhl-salaries-2014-15

Contract: 13 years (2008-21), $124 million
Cap Hit: $9.538 million
2014-15 Salary: $10 million

Sure, $10 million seems like a fair price Alex Ovechkin. The guy is only 28, but he already has 422 career goals.

Here is one stat to keep in mind, though. Even though he scored 51 goals last year, he had a plus-minus rating of -35. That’s right – MINUS 35!

Yikes.

 

5. Ryan Suter (Wild)

5 ryan suter - highest paid nhl players 2014-15 (highest nhl salaries 2014-15)

Contract: 13 years (2012-25), $98 million
Cap Hit: $7.538 million
2014-15 Salary: $11 million

Hey, remember that little lockout thing that cancelled half the 2012-13 NHL season? Yeah, well, it was contracts like the one the Wild handed out to Ryan Suter and the next guy on our list that brought that about.

Suter is 29 right now and totally worth $11 million (though he’s also getting an additional $5 million in signing bonus money, and I don’t know about that). However, he will be paid $6 million for his age 36/37 season. And after that he’ll be under contract for an additional three years at $2 million, $1 million, and $1 million.

The point of those last three years? Lowering the cap hit to $7.538 million.

4. Zach Parise (Wild)

4 zach parise - highest paid nhl players 2014-15 (highest nhl salaries 2014-15)

Contract: 13 years (2012-25), $98 million
Cap Hit: $7.538 million
2014-15 Salary: $11 million

Zach Parise’s contract is identical to Ryan Suter’s, right down to the $25 million signing bonus (the last $5 million of which comes this year). So they’re contract twinsies! Unfortunatley, like I said, it was deals like this that brought about the last labor dispute.

 

3. Henrik Lunqvist (Rangers)

3 henrik lunqvist - highest paid nhl players 2014-15 (highest nhl salaries 2014-15)

Contract: 7 years (2014-21), $59.5 million
Cap Hit: $8.5 million
2014-15 Salary: $11 million

Henrik Lunqvist is one of the best goalies in the NHL, and he helped the Rangers reach the Stanley Cup Finals last year. So I understand why the Blueshirts would be desperate to resign him. But seven years at $8.5 million per season? The guy is 32 years old right now! He’s going to be 39 when this deal is doe and still pulling in $5.5 million.

Like the Leafs with Dion Phaneuf, this is obviously a case of a rich franchise over-paying now and trusting that the higher cap ceiling plus inflation will mitigate the costs down the road.

 

2. Sidney Crosby (Penguins)

2 sidney crosby

Contract: 12 years (2013-25), $104.4 million
Cap Hit: $8.7 million
2014-15 Salary: $12 million

Sidney Crosby got his contract extension with the Penguins worked out just before the 2012 lockout. Phew!

Of course, aside from the cute numerology (get it? He’s #87, and the AAV is $8.7 million?), there’s really no funny business here. Crosby is the best hockey player in the world, and getting him locked up for the rest of his career was worth every penny of that $104.4 million to the Penguins.

 

1. Shea Weber (Predators)

IM 1-shea-weber-highest-paid-nhl-players-2014-15-highest-nhl-salaries-2014-15

Contract: 14 years, (2012-26), $110 million
Cap Hit: $7.857 million
2014-15 Salary: $14 million

Shea Weber might be the best defenseman in hockey, but he’s not the best overall player. However, he will be the highest-paid player for at least the next two years thanks to the insane, pre-lockout contract he signed with the Predators.

Of course, the irony here is that you really can’t blame the Preds for this 14-year deal that will keep Weber on the books until he’s 40 years old. In 2012 the Wild signed Weber’s defensive partner, Ryan Suter, away from Nashville, then the Philadelphia Flyers (who are never afraid to throw handfuls of cash at players on a whim) offered Weber—a restricted free agent—a giant contract.

That left Nashville with two choices: do nothing, watch their two best players leave, and see fans stay away in droves; or match the insanity. So they matched the insanity. And now Shea Weber is the highest-paid player in the NHL.

 




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