Highest Paid NHL Players 2023: MacKinnon, McDavid Top List Of Hockey Players With The Largest Per Year Salaries

NHL: All Star Game

In just a few weeks, the dust will settle after the crowning of a new Stanley Cup champion, and the NHL offseason kicks into high gear, marked by the flurry of activity in free agency. This pivotal period sees teams diligently working to secure their star players with contract extensions, while also seeking to add fresh talent to their rosters. Money becomes a critical factor in this pursuit, serving as one of the many tools teams employ to entice and persuade coveted free agents.

General managers and team executives engage in intense negotiations, offering lucrative deals and significant financial incentives to retain their key contributors. These extensions not only reward players for their past performances but also aim to ensure their long-term commitment to the franchise.

Top-10 Highest-Paid NHL Players

  1. Nathan MacKinnon, Avalance — $12.6 million/ year
  2. Connor McDavid, Oilers — $12.5 million/ year
  3. Artemi Panarin, Rangers — $11.642 million/ year
  4. Austin Matthews, Maple Leafs — $11.640 million/ year
  5. Erik Karlsson, Sharks — $11.5 million/ year
  6. David Pastrnak, Bruins — $11.2 million/ year
  7. Drew Doughty, Kings — $11 million/ year
  8. John Tavares, Maple Leafs — $11 million/ year
  9. Mitch Marner, Maple Leafs — $10.9 million
  10. Patrick Kane, Rangers — $10.5 million

1. Nathan MacKinnon – Avalanche – $12.6 million/ year

The Avs signed Mackinnon to an eight-year extension worth $12.6 million annually, making him the highest-paid player in the NHL. In total, $85.34 million of his contract will be paid in signing bonuses. The $100.8 million is the fourth largest contract in NHL history, behind Alex Ovechkin’s $124 million, 13-year contract with Washington, Shea Weber’s $110 million, 14-year contract with Nashville, and Sidney Crosby’s $104.4 million, 12-year contract with Pittsburgh.

2. Connor McDavid – Oilers – $12.5 million/ year

It is no secret that the best player in the NHL commands a significant salary, and this holds true for Connor McDavid. Following his outstanding performance in the 2016-17 season, where he captured the Art Ross Trophy, Hart Trophy, and Ted Lindsay Award, the Edmonton Oilers wasted no time in securing his services with an impressive eight-year, $100 million contract. Since then, McDavid’s dominance on the ice has only intensified.

3. Artemi Panarin – Rangers – $11.642 million/ year

In the highly anticipated free agency of 2019, Artemi Panarin emerged as one of the most sought-after players. Ultimately, he made the decision to join the New York Rangers, signing a lucrative seven-year contract worth $81.5 million. Despite rumors of potentially receiving a larger offer from the Islanders, Panarin opted to join their crosstown rivals. Since donning the Rangers jersey, Panarin has showcased his exceptional skills, accumulating an impressive 249 points in 186 games over the course of three seasons with the team. His impact on the ice has been undeniable, solidifying his status as a key contributor to the Rangers’ success.

4. Austin Matthews – Maple Leafs – $11.640 million/ year

Among the notable players representing the Toronto Maple Leafs on this list, Auston Matthews has undoubtedly justified his significant contract. In February 2019, Matthews inked a five-year extension with an average annual value (AAV) of approximately $11.64 million. His remarkable performances speak for themselves, as he secured back-to-back Rocket Richard Trophies in 2021 and 2022, topping the league in goals scored. Impressively, Matthews joined an exclusive club in the salary cap era, becoming just the third player to reach the remarkable milestone of 60 goals in a single season.

5. Erik Karlsson – Leafs – $11.5 million/ year

Following a trade with the Ottawa Senators, Erik Karlsson became a highly anticipated addition to the San Jose Sharks, leading to an eight-year contract worth $92 million. Recognized as one of the league’s premier offensive defensemen at the time, expectations were high. Unfortunately, Karlsson’s tenure in San Jose has been marred by injuries and underwhelming on-ice performances, as he has fallen short of reaching 40 points in the past two seasons. Compounding matters, Karlsson’s age of 32 raises concerns about his ability to regain peak form and fulfill the remaining five years of his contract. The Sharks now face the challenge of navigating this substantial financial commitment amidst uncertainties surrounding Karlsson’s productivity and durability.

6. David Pastrnak – Bruins – $11.2 million/ year

The Bruins signed David Pastrnak to an eight-year contract extension through the 2030-31 season with an annual NHL cap hit of $11.25 million. He ranks in the top 20 in Bruins franchise history in goals, hat tricks, assists, and points. Pastrnak tallied 48 goals during the 2019-20 season in which he earned the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, awarded annually to the leading goal scorer in the National Hockey League. The Havirov, Czech Republic native was originally drafted by the Bruins in the first round (25th overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

7. Drew Doughty – Kings – $11 million/ year

Drew Doughty’s lucrative eight-year, $88 million contract with the Los Angeles Kings was sealed following a remarkable season where he recorded 60 points. However, the Kings have not witnessed similar offensive output from Doughty since then. Although he maintained a point-per-game pace this season, his impact was limited by a right knee injury and subsequent wrist surgery, restricting him to just 39 games. Now at 32 years old, Doughty faces the challenge of reclaiming his previous level of production while navigating through another five years of his contract.

8. John Tavares – Maple Leafs – $11 million/ year

In a significant blow to the New York Islanders, their captain John Tavares chose to sign with his hometown team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, on a seven-year contract worth $77 million. Tavares made an immediate impact in his first season with the Leafs, achieving career-high numbers in both goals (47) and points (88). Since joining Toronto, he has consistently performed as a dependable second-line center, accumulating an impressive 274 points in 280 games.

9. Mitch Marner – Maple Leafs – $10.9 million

Shortly after securing Auston Matthews with a contract extension, the Toronto Maple Leafs continued their commitment to their young core by signing Mitch Marner to a lucrative six-year deal worth $65.3 million. Marner had showcased his immense talent the previous season, tallying an impressive 94 points. Since signing the contract, Marner has proven himself to be a worthy investment, consistently producing at a rate of over a point per game. Marner is the third Maple Leaf on the list.

10. Patrick Kane – Rangers – $10.5 million

Patrick Kane, who inked an eight-year, $84 million deal in 2014, was traded to the New York Rangers from Chicago in the final year of his contract. Many thought that Kane could put the Rangers over the top, but they were once again ousted in the First Round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs this year.


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