TOP 6 NHL players with the biggest paycheck next season
- Contracts with big annual signing bonuses have become common among top players in recent years.
- There are several main advantages to this structure, according to one prominent hockey player agent.
- Players get most of their money upfront, instead of spread out over the entire season.
- In addition, contracts with big signing bonuses are deemed “buyout-proof.”
- The current CBA calculates buyouts—where a team cuts a player to get out from part of his contract—by using two-thirds of the remaining salary owed, not including signing bonuses.
- When compensation is heavily allocated towards a signing bonus, the salary cap relief is muted for a team.
- The biggest reason for the signing bonus is the protection it provides the player in case of a lockout.
- Many NHL insiders are concerned about a work stoppage ahead of the 2020-2021 season.
- Expanding revenue, escrow payments and the Olympics are all issues dividing players and owners right now.
- Signing bonuses get paid in full, even if games are cut from the season, which would reduce base salaries.
6. Artemi Panarin $14M
- After a year-long episode in Columbus, during which it became abundantly clear Panarin was unlikely to remain in Ohio long-term,the 27-year-old has signed a seven-year, $81.5-million deal with the New York Rangers.
5. Connor McDavid $14M
- Connor McDavid and the Oilers came to terms in 2017 on an eight-year, $100-million extension.
- The contract came with a cap hit of $12.5 million.
- The deal pays McDavid $86 million in signing bonuses.
4. Erik Karlsson $14,5M
- The San Jose Sharks took a risk when they traded for elite defenceman Erik Karlsson knowing he had only one year left on his contract.
- They sat patiently as he learned about the organization and area during an injury-plagued season and were rewarded when Karlsson decided not to hit the open market.
- The Sharks then pounced and signed Karlsson to a $92 million, eight-year deal, turning a one-year rental into a long-term commitment to one of the league’s most dynamic defencemen.
3. Carey Price $15M
- Carey Price never wanted to wear another hockey jersey other than Montreal’s red, white and blue.
- The Montreal Canadiens signed Price to an eight-year contact extension that reportedly carries an annual cap hit of US$10.5 million.
- That made him the highest-paid goaltender in hockey.
- Price’s deal didn’t kick in until last season and won’t expire until the summer of 2026.
2. Auston Matthews $15,9M
- The Toronto Maple Leafs signed centre Auston Matthews to a five-year contract extension earlier this season.
- The deal is worth $58.17 million, meaning Matthews will have an annual salary cap hit of $11.634 million beginning in 2019-20 and running through the 2023-24 campaign.
- This was a sigh of relief for the Maple Leafs fan base after it spent months collectively stressing over William Nylander’s contract holdout that ended on Dec. 1.
- Matthews was eligible to sign an eight-year extension, however that would have complicated the team’s long-term salary cap outlook. T
- his means Matthews can hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent by age 26
1. John Tavares $15,9M
- After one of the most-watched courtships in NHL history, the Toronto Maple Leafs John Tavares as free agency opened, bringing an end to a saga that gripped hockey for the better part of seven days, and ramped up even further during the final 48 hours.
- The deal was worth US$77 million over seven years, with an average annual value of $11 million against the salary cap.
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