Highest Paid NHL Player in 2023 | Which Players Make the Most Money?

Highest paid NHL player

Have you been searching for the highest paid NHL player in 2023? Well, search no more; we’ve got you covered.

This post reviews some of the highest paid NHL players in 2023, including the highest paid NHL players in 2023.

In the world of professional sports, the National Hockey League (NHL) stands out as one of the most exciting and competitive leagues.

Each year, the NHL showcases incredible talent on the ice, and as a result, some players command truly staggering salaries.

It’s that season again in the NHL when teams are finalizing new contracts in preparation for the upcoming season.

Although the total dollar amounts may not reach the levels seen in the NFL, NBA, or MLB, they still dwarf the earnings of the average employee.

The 2023-24 free agent class didn’t generate much excitement, so we didn’t anticipate a spending spree.

The only newcomers to the highest-paid players list for this season were those who had already negotiated contract extensions before the offseason began.

Among these fresh entries are Nathan MacKinnon, the standout player for the Avalanche, who now claims the top spot in terms of earnings, and David Pastrnak of the Bruins.

A noteworthy mention is Auston Matthews, who is currently on the list but is poised to take MacKinnon’s No. 1 ranking in a year.

Matthews recently inked a four-year extension with the Maple Leafs, which carries a cap hit of $13.25 million, making it the highest in the league.

However, it’s important to note that this contract won’t take effect until the 2024-25 season.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the fascinating realm of the highest paid NHL players in 2023, exploring the financial aspects of their careers and what sets them apart.

So, lace up your skates, and let’s hit the ice to discover which players are making the most money in the NHL!

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The Landscape of NHL Salaries

1. The Steady Rise of NHL Salaries

The NHL has witnessed a significant increase in player salaries over the years, thanks in part to lucrative broadcasting deals, sponsorship agreements, and the league’s growing global reach.

2. Salary Cap Constraints

Despite the rise in salaries, the NHL operates under a salary cap system, which places limits on how much a team can spend on player salaries. This system aims to maintain a competitive balance in the league.

Factors Influencing NHL Salaries

1. Performance Metrics

NHL players are often rewarded for their performance on the ice, including goals, assists, and overall contributions to their teams.

2. Marketability

Players who can boost a team’s brand through endorsements and fan engagement are more likely to secure high-paying contracts.

3. Free Agency

When a player becomes a free agent, they have the opportunity to negotiate new contracts, often resulting in significant salary increases.

The Role of Endorsements

1. Off-Ice Income

Many NHL players supplement their on-ice earnings with endorsement deals, adding a substantial source of income.

Challenges and Pressures

1. Handling Expectations

Being one of the highest-paid NHL players comes with immense pressure to perform consistently at an elite level.

2. Team Expectations

High-earning players are expected to be leaders on and off the ice, contributing to team success and community engagement.

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Highest Paid NHL Player in 2023 | Which Players Make the Most Money?

Below is the highest paid NHL player in 2023

The National Hockey League (NHL) is a professional ice hockey league composed of 32 teams. The league’s highest paid player in 2023 is Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche. He has an average annual value (AAV) of $12.6 million.

Nathan MacKinnon

He is a Canadian professional ice hockey player who plays center for the Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League (NHL).

He was drafted by the Avalanche with the first overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

MacKinnon has won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading scorer twice (2017–18, 2022–23), the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player once (2017–18), and the Ted Lindsay Award as the NHL’s most outstanding player voted by the players once (2017–18).

He has also been selected to the NHL All-Star Team six times.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon often plays some of his best hockey in November. He certainly had a strong showing this November.

MacKinnon’s Contract

MacKinnon signed an eight-year, $100.8 million contract extension with the Avalanche on July 13, 2022. The contract has an AAV of $12.6 million, making him the highest paid player in the NHL.

Highest Paid NHL Players in 2023

Below is a list of the highest paid NHL players in 2023

  • Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche($12.6 Million)
  • Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers ($12.5 million)
  • Artemi Panarin of the New York Rangers ($11.642 million)
  • Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs ($11.64 million)
  • Erik Karlsson of the San Jose Sharks ($11.5 million)
  • David Pastrňák of the Boston Bruins ($11.25 million)
  • Mitch Marner of the Toronto Maple Leafs ($10.903 million)
  • Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars ($9.85 million)
  • Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames ($9.75 million)
  • Zach Werenski of the Columbus Blue Jackets ($9.583 million)
  • John Tavares of the New York Islanders ($9.5 million)
  • Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings ($9.5 million)

#1. Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche($12.6 Million)

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He is a Canadian professional ice hockey player who plays center for the Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League (NHL). He was drafted by the Avalanche with the first overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

MacKinnon has won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading scorer twice (2017–18, 2022–23), the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player once (2017–18), and the Ted Lindsay Award as the NHL’s most outstanding player voted by the players once (2017–18). He has also been selected to the NHL All-Star Team six times.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon often plays some of his best hockey in November. He certainly had a strong showing this November.

MacKinnon’s Contract

MacKinnon signed an eight-year, $100.8 million contract extension with the Avalanche on July 13, 2022. The contract has an AAV of $12.6 million, making him the highest paid player in the NHL.

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#2. Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers ($12.5 million)

  • AAV: $12.5 million

The NHL’s top player isn’t the highest earner. The gap isn’t substantial—it’s precisely $100,000 annually—and while he’s financially comfortable, being in the second spot is still being in the second spot.

Nonetheless, McDavid has just secured another Hart Trophy and Art Ross Trophy, showcasing his exceptional skills. Unfortunately, his Oilers haven’t achieved much success on the ice.

#3. Artemi Panarin of the New York Rangers ($11.642 million)

Average Annual Value (AAV): $11.642 million

Finding Panarin in the third spot on this ranking might raise some eyebrows. Rangers’ enthusiasts may have discussions about the value they’re getting in return, especially given his less-than-stellar performance in the last two postseasons.

However, it’s important to remember that Panarin played a pivotal role in accelerating the team’s rebuild, and he still manages to captivate the Madison Square Garden audience.

With an impressive record of 341 points in 268 games, it’s safe to say that his contract has been, for the most part, a resounding success.

#4. Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs ($11.64 million)

AAV: $12.5 million

According to Wikipedia Auston Taylour Matthews (born September 17, 1997 in San Ramon, California ) is an American-Mexican ice hockey player who has been under contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL) since July 2016. 

The center was selected as the first overall draft pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the Maple Leafs and received the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s best rookie after his first NHL season. 

This was followed by the Maurice Richard Trophy at the end of the 2020/21 season as the NHL’s top scorer, which he defended the following year and was also honored with the Hart Memorial Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award as league MVP.

The top-performing NHL player isn’t the highest earner. While the disparity isn’t substantial – it’s a mere $100,000 annually – and he’s undoubtedly financially comfortable, being in the second spot is still being in the second spot.

Nevertheless, McDavid recently claimed both the Hart Trophy and Art Ross Trophy. Regrettably, his Oilers haven’t achieved significant success on the ice.

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#5. Erik Karlsson of the San Jose Sharks ($11.5 million)

  • AAV: $11.5 million

The current holder of the Norris Trophy is anticipated to change teams during the upcoming offseason. Karlsson still has four years left on his high-value contract, but recent injury setbacks and fluctuations in performance have raised doubts about whether the Sharks are content with their investment in the former Senators captain.

#6. David Pastrňák of the Boston Bruins ($11.25 million)

  • AAV: $11.25 million

“Pasta” was originally poised to become a free agent this summer, but he has opted to stay in Boston by signing an eight-year, $90 million extension set to commence in the 2023-24 season.

Pastrnak played a pivotal role in the Bruins’ remarkable regular season, amassing an impressive 113 points. This marked the first time in his career that he crossed the century mark.\

#7. John Tavares, C, Maple Leafs

  • AAV: $11 million

Tavares has proven to be a valuable acquisition for Toronto. While operating in Matthews’ shadow, he has consistently made significant contributions to his cherished childhood team.

Currently, he is embarking on the sixth year of his seven-year, $77 million contract, which he secured after departing from the Islanders.

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#8. Drew Doughty, D, Kings (AAV: $11 million)

  • AAV: $11 million

Doughty is currently midway through his eight-year, $88 million extension. He experienced one of his most impressive offensive seasons in 2022-23, but the overall value he has delivered hasn’t completely aligned with the financial terms of the agreement.

#9 Mitch Marner of the Toronto Maple Leafs ($10.903 million)

  • AAV: $10.903 million

Another Maple Leaf cracks the top 10. Marner, though, is another example of Toronto getting a good return on investment — he posted 99 points last season and 97 the season before that. He is entering the second-to-last year of his extension. 

First a winger for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Toronto Maple Leafs superstar has one of the highest paying contracts in the NHL and has gone 18 straight playoff games without a goal.

But don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a song and dance about the contract. It is pretty reasonable, and at this point, we just have to live with it anyway.

He’s not getting traded, that’s a very good thing. Mitch Marner is the wingman to the best goal scorer in the league and Maple Leafs history.

He also just ranked fourth in the NHL in total points, and second in 5v5 points, all while playing elite defense. We should cut him some slack.

He wasn’t the only one who didn’t produce against Montreal. Toronto Maple Leafs and Mitch Marner Marner just well with Auston Matthews.

They are one of the NHL’s most consistently awe-inspiring duos. Going into May of last season, Marner had an assist on 63 percent of Matthews‘ goals.

#10. Zach Werenski of the Columbus Blue Jackets ($9.583 million)

Zach Werenski isn’t currently the most favored player among the Columbus Blue Jackets. At just 21 years old, Zach Werenski, a defenseman for the Columbus Blue Jackets, is still in the developmental phase of his journey to becoming an NHL superstar on the blue line.

Consequently, it’s natural for him to encounter challenges and make occasional errors. The last thing Jarmo Kekalainen, the Blue Jackets general manager, wants is to repeat the same error the Minnesota Wild made with Brent Burns, who was also a young defenseman when he was traded to the San Jose Sharks.

Generally, defensemen tend to reach their peak later in their careers compared to forwards. It’s indeed an exception to find a defenseman as young as Werenski in the NHL, let alone with three seasons of experience under his belt.

Werenski played in just 13 games last season because of a shoulder injury that knocked him out in November.

His absence helped lower Columbus into the NHL dumpster. Werenski has five years remaining on his six-year, $57.5 million extension. 

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Conclusion on the Highest Paid NHL Player

The NHL is a highly competitive league, and the players are some of the best in the world. The salaries of the players reflect their skills and value to their teams.

Nathan MacKinnon is a deserving recipient of the highest paid player in the NHL, and he is sure to continue to be a dominant force in the league for years to come.

The landscape of NHL salaries in 2023 is a dynamic one, with top players earning substantial incomes through a combination of on-ice excellence and off-ice marketability.

Players like Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, and Leon Draisaitl are not only the highest-paid in the league but also among the most skilled.

As the NHL continues to grow and evolve, player salaries are likely to keep rising, setting the stage for exciting competition on the ice and lucrative deals off it.

In this blog post, we’ve explored the world of NHL player salaries in 2023, identifying the top earners and the factors that contribute to their financial success.

As the NHL continues to evolve, so too will the landscape of player salaries, making it an exciting aspect to watch for fans and enthusiasts of the sport.

FAQ on the Highest Paid NHL Player

How is the salary cap determined in the NHL?

The NHL’s salary cap is calculated based on the league’s revenue and is designed to ensure competitive balance among teams.

Are NHL player salaries publicly disclosed?

Yes, NHL player salaries are publicly available information, allowing fans and analysts to track player earnings.

Do endorsements significantly impact NHL player incomes?

Endorsements can substantially increase an NHL player’s income, especially for those with a strong off-ice presence.

Are there performance bonuses in NHL contracts?

Yes, many NHL contracts include performance bonuses based on player achievements, such as goals, assists, and awards.

How has the NHL’s global reach impacted player salaries?

The NHL’s global expansion has contributed to increased revenues, which, in turn, have led to higher player salaries.

References

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