As of 2018, the NHL has capped the team salary at $79.5 million, with no individual player allowed to earn more than $15.9 million. While this creates a slightly stagnant salary base, it doesn’t stop players topping up their wealth with endorsement and sponsorship deals, or from adding their earnings from lucrative side ventures into the mix. For those wise enough to invest their money, or at least avoid losing it all to flagrant spending habits, the payoff from the game can continue to reflect in their fortunes long after retirement. However, if we leave the future to one side for a moment and consider only the current salaries of the league’s top earners, we’re left with a list of sportsmen who can proudly claim to be some of the richest in the world. As the income of many NHL stars are closely guarded secrets, the following list is by no means definitive: it does, however, rank those stars whose current salaries can be confirmed (numbers are according to Hockey Reference and NHL Numbers)
20. Zach Parise Salary – $9,000,000
34-year-old Zach Parise currently serves as the alternate captain for the Minnesota Wild, having previously enjoyed a successful tenure as team captain for the New Jersey Devils. Parise is ice hockey royalty; his father, J.P. Parise, played for the Minnesota North Stars, and represented his country as part of Team Canada at the 1972 Summit Series. His brother, meanwhile, is Jordan Parise, a former hockey goaltender. Parise began his career after being drafted by the New Jersey Devils as 17th overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. The left-winger subsequently went on to play for one year with the Albany River Rats before joining the Devils in the 2005-06 season. His most successful season to date was in 2008-09, when he ranked 5th in the NHL in points. On an international level, Parise helped the US to victory at the 2004 World Junior Championship, was an alternate captain at the 2012 Winter Olympics, and captained the team again in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
19. Corey Perry Salary – $9,000,000
Professional ice hockey winger, Corey Perry, began his NHL career after drafting 28th overall by the Minnesota Anaheim Ducks in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Within the space of 16 years, Perry has achieved a remarkable string of successes with the Ducks, including claiming the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player for the 2010-11 season, and helping the Ducks to Stanley Cup victory in 2007. His achievements on an international front have been no less impressive, with gold medal wins with Team Canada at the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, and the honor of leading his home country to gold at the 2016 IIHF World Championship.
18. Jakub Voráček Salary – $9,200,000
Czech born Voráček was drafted 7th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, and made his debut the following season. Following a successful 3 year run at the Blue Jackets (which included helping the team to the Stanley cup playoffs for the first time in the franchise’s history), Voráček was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers, where’s his roll call of achievements have continued unabated: during the 2014-15 season, Voráček scored the 2nd fastest overtime goal in the team’s history, while in 2015, he was named to both the NHL First All- Star Game and NHL First All- Star Team.
17. Evgeni Malkin Salary – $9,500,000
Russian ice hockey center and alternate captain for the Pittsburg Penguins Evgeni Malkin began his NHL career after being picked 2nd overall in the 2004 Entry Draft by Pittsburg. Malkin made an impression right from the start, picking up the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s best rookie during his first season, and in his second, helping Pittsburg to the 2008 Stanley Cup finals. Malkin’s third season saw even greater victories, including the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s top-scorer, coming in 2nd place for the Hart Trophy and securing a Stanley Cup victory for the team. His international career has been no less impressive: to date, Malkin has competed in 2 IIHF World U18 Championships, 3 IIHF World U20 Championship, 4 IIHF World Championships, and 3 Winter Olympics.
16. Steven Stamkos Salary – $9,500,000
Canadian Steven Stamkos was selected first overall in the 2006 OHL Entry Draft by the Markham Waxers of the OMHA. He subsequently went on to play 2 years for the Waxers, before being picked first overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning. During his subsequent career with the Lightning, Stamkos’ superior skills have seen him claim the Maurice Richard Trophy in both 2010 and 2012 as the NHL leading goal scorer, and be named to six NHL All-Star Games (2011, 2012, 2015,2016, 2018, and 2019). Stamkos’ achievements have presented some lucrative extra-curricular opportunities: as well as appearing as the cover athlete for the EA Sports’ NHL 12 video game, Stamkos has won multiple endorsement deals with the likes of Tissot, Coca-Cola and Nike. His most recent (and profitable) deal is a multi- year strategic partnership with Canada’s biggest sports retailer, Sport Check.
15. Alex Ovechkin Salary – $10,000,000
Alexander Ovechkin played with the Dynamo Moscow of the Russian Superleague for four seasons before being selected first overall by the Washington Capitals in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Ovechkin went on to win the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year, and has since led the NHL in goal scoring a record 8 times. During the 2007-08 season, he won the Art Ross Trophy, the Hart Memorial Trophy and the Lester B. Pearson Award as the best player as voted by the NHLPA. Ovechkin’s series of successes has earned him recognition as one of the greatest goal scorers in NHL history, while his international career (which spans 11 World Championships and 2 Olympics) has won him adoration in his home country of Russia. It’s also helped secure him a very healthy salary of $10,000,000.
14. Sidney Crosby Salary – $10,000,000
Captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby (or “Sid the Kid” as he’s known to his fans), is commonly regarded as one of the greatest NHL players in history. Crosby began his NHL career after being selected first overall by the Penguins in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, and has subsequently gone on to achieve phenomenal success with the team. In his debut season alone, Crosby won both the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s most valuable player and the Lester B. Pearson Award for the most outstanding player as judged by his fellow players. During his tenure with the Penguins, Crosby has led the team to Stanley Cup glory on two consecutive occasions, making them the first team to claim back-to-back wins in over 19 years. Given his success, it’s little wonder Crosby has earned himself a tidy fortune: as of 2019, he’s estimated to be worth a cool $55 million, thanks in no small part to his $10,000,000 salary.
13. Evgeny Kuznetsov Salary – $10,000,000
Russian ice hockey forward, Evgeny Kuznetsov, currently serves with the Washington Capitals, having previously enjoyed success with the Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL. Despite being only 26 years old, Kuznetsov’s string of successes are the envy of even the most experienced player: as well as bagging gold for his mother country at both the 2011 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship and the 2014 IIHF World Championship, Kuznetsov helped the Capitals to Stanley Cup victory in 2018 after earning the most points of any player in the playoffs. Although Kuznetsov ultimately lost out on the Conn Smythe Trophy to team captain, Alex Ovechkin, his prowess during the championship didn’t go unnoticed, with W.G. Ramirez noting : “In helping deliver a championship Washington had wanted for more than 40 years, Kuznetsov was arguably the Capitals’ most instrumental player. The 26-year-old, fifth-year pro finished with a playoff-leading 32 points, including his 20th assist in Thursday night’s series-clinching 4-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 5.”
12. Brent Burns Salary – $10,000,000
34-year-old Canadian, Brent Burns, was initially drafted as a right wing at the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Minnesota Wild, but has since served as a draftsman and occasional forward. Burns was traded to the San Jose Sharks in 2011, and has subsequently enjoyed a stellar rise through the ranks, winning the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the league’s best defenseman in 2017, and receiving a nomination for the Ted Lindsey Award (an annual gong awarded to the league’s best player, as decided by the NHLPA) in the same year. On an international level, Burns helped Canada to silver medal victory at the 2008 World Championship, secured them 7th position at the 2010 World Championship, and was named best defense man at the 2015 World Championship.
11. Jack Eichel Salary – $10,000,000
Current captain of the Buffalo Sabres, Jack Eichel, began his career after being selected 2nd overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft by the Sabres. Although only 22, Eichel (who’s been named the “new face of American hockey” by the New York Times already boasts a significant roll-call of accomplishments, including the Hobey Baker Award in 2015, a sponsorship deal with Bauer Hockey, a place on Team USA during both the 2015 World Championship and IIHF World Championship, and an NHL All-Star title in 2019.
10. P.K. Subban Salary- $12,000,000
Considered one of NHL’s top draftsmen, P.K. Subban began his career after being drafted by the Montreal Canadians in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. After signing with the Canadians on an 8-year, $72 million contract in 2014, Subban was controversially traded to the Nashville Predators after the 2015-16 season. In addition to winning the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman of 2013, Subban has won international acclaim for helping Canada to gold medal success at the 2014 Winter Olympics. On a personal front, Subban’s marketing venture, P.K.S.S, has helped stretch out his already hefty salary through endorsement deals with the likes of Bridgestone, Gatorade and Air Canada.
9. Patrick Kane Salary – $12,000,000
Widely regarded as one the greatest right wingers of all time, Patrick Kane has achieved a very respectable record over the course of his 12 years in the sport, taking in 3 Stanley Cup championship wins with the Chicago Blackhawks, a Hart Memorial Trophy as MVP, an Art Ross Trophy for his performance in the 2015-16 season, and a Conn Smythe Trophy in 2013. In addition to his NHL successes, Kane won the approval of his home country after helping the US to bronze place at the 2018 IIHF World Championships and achieving the title of Most Valuable Player at the 2018 Men’s World Championship. In 2017, Kane rounded of his roll of successes with a mention as one of the “100 Greatest NHL Players of all time.”
8. Jonathan Toews Salary – $12,000,000
31-year-old Jonathan Toews began his NHL career after being selected 3rd overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft; he’s subsequently gone on to serve as the Blackhawks’ captain (making him the second youngest captain in NHL history), leading the team to victory in 3 Stanley Cup’s (the first in 2010, the second in 2013 and the most recent in 2015). Along the way, he’s managed to pick up a nomination for the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year, the Conn Smythe Trophy for his performance in the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, and recognition as the youngest player to ever join the Triple Gold Club. In the process, he’s also earned a place as one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players” in history.
7. Anze Kopitar Salary- $12,000,000
Ice hockey center Anze Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL after making his debut with the Los Angeles Kings in 2006. Kopitar has continued to serve with the Kings ever since, picking up the captaincy after the 2015-16 season. Known for both his offensive and defensive capabilities, Kopitar’s achievements have been recognized with 2 Frank J. Seilke Trophies (the first in 2016 and the 2nd in 2018) and the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in 2016 as the league’s most gentlemanly player. Internationally, Kopitar has represented his home country in a number of competitions, including the 2014 Winter Olympics and multiple World Championships.
6. John Carlson – $12,000,000
Professional ice hockey defenseman John Carlson was drafted 27th overall by the Washington Capitals in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, and subsequently went on to win his first Stanley Cup with the team in 2018. The win came off the back of Carlson’s most successful season to date, in which he led the NHL defensemen in points, and became the team’s first defenseman to score 60 points in a season for 8 years. On an international level, Carlson served as alternate captain for the United States in the 2010 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, and in 2014, was named to the US team for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
5. William Nylander Salary- $12,000,000
Swedish born William Nylander began his professional career after being selected 8th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. He subsequently signed to the Maple Leafs for a three-year, entry- level contact, and served several seasons with the Maple Leaf’s AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, before making his NHL debut in February 2016. That year, Nylander was named Rookie of the Month for October by NHL, and has continued to serve as an integral part of the team ever since.
4. Jamie Benn Salary- $13,000,000
Canadian ice hockey player Jamie Benn began his professional career after being selected 129th overall by the Dallas Stars in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Following the draft, Benn enjoyed a successful junior career with the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL, before kicking off his professional career with the Stars in the 2009-10 season. The defenseman has subsequently gone on to become one of the team’s leading members, claiming the Art Ross Trophy in the 2014-15 season as the league’s leading scorer with 87 points. In 2014, Benn was awarded a place on the Canadian Olympic team for the 2014 Winter Olympics: his game-winning goal in the semi-final against the US pushed Canada to the finals, where they beat off stiff completion from the Swedes to claim gold medal position.
3. Connor McDavid Salary- $15,000,000
22- year old Connor McDavid hasn’t let his youth stand in the way of becoming one of the highest paid stars of NHL, nor one of its most talented. The Canadian launched his professional career in 2015, when he was selected 1st overall by the Edmonton Oilers in that season’s NHL Entry Draft. Since then, McDavid has enjoyed stellar success; widely regarded as one, or even the, best player in the world, McDavid has swooped 2 Art Ross Trophies as NHL’s leading scorer, 2 Ted Lindsey Awards as best player according to his peers and the Hart Memorial Trophy for most valuable player. In addition to his award success, McDonald has won gold at every international event he’s competed in, including 2 World Junior Championships and one World Championship.
2. Carey Price Salary – $15,000,000
Professional ice hockey player Carey Price is widely regarded to be one the greatest goaltenders in the world. Price’s professional career kicked off after drafting 5th overall by the Montreal Canadians in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Price made his debut as backup goaltender for the Canadians in the 2007-08 season, before moving on to starting goaltender later that season. In recognition of his success, Price has been awarded multiple honors, and in 2015, he became the first goaltender to pick up the Ted Lindsey, Jennings, Vezina and Hart Trophies in the same season. Outside of hockey, Price is a noted philanthropist, having donated more than $10000 worth of equipment to a minor Canadian Hockey League, and funding a breakfast program at his former school in B.C.
1. John Tavares Salary – $15,900,000
Canadian ice hockey center and alternate captain for the Toronto Maple Leafs, John Tavares, began his professional career in 2009 after drafting first overall by the New York Islanders in that year’s NHL Entry Draft. Following a nine-year stint with the Islanders (5 of which as captain), Tavares signed as a free agent in one of the biggest free agent signings in the history of the league. On an international level, Tavares has represented Canada at 2 World Championships and the 2014 Winter Olympics, where he managed to pull in a gold medal despite sitting out 2 games with an injury.