NHL Players

Who Makes The Most Money In The NHL?

By Saroj Karki / 28 August 2023 03:16 AM

Matthews signed a short term big money deal with Maple Leafs in 2023.
Source : twitter

NHL Players making the most money per AAV are 1. Auston Matthews 2. Nathan MacKinnon 3. Connor McDavid 4. Artemi Paneni 5. Erik Karlsson.

Matthews recently overtook Nathan MacKinnon as the player with the highest AAV in the NHL with a 13.25 million contract per season.

What does AAV stand for NHL? It is the average annual salary of a player calculated by dividing the total amount paid on the contract by the number of years in the contract.

Moreover, AAV is applied to the total salary cap of NHL Teams, which limits the spending capacity for players during trades and free agency.

NHL Salaries By Player

PlayersAAV Contract
Auston Matthews13.25 million
Nathan MacKinnon12.60 million
Connor McDavid12.50 million
Artemi Panarin11.64 million
Erik Karlsson11.50 million
David Pastrnak11.25 million
John Tavares11 million
Drew Doughty11 million
Mitch Marner10.90 million
Carey Price10.50 million

Auston Matthews - 13.25 million

The Maple Leafs ice hockey center became the highest-paid player in the NHL after signing a 4-year extension contract worth $53 million.

Matthews will earn an average salary of $13.25 million starting from the 2024-25 season. He has one year left in the current five-year, $58,195,000 deal signed on February 5, 2019.

After being selected as the first overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Auston initially signed a 3-year entry-level contract worth $11,325,000 on July 21, 2016.

Matthews made an immediate impact winning the Calder Memorial Trophy as the best rookie in the NHL. Moreover, he won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy for two consecutive seasons in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

After relishing a phenomenal season scoring 60 goals and 46 assists, Auston was also awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award.

Nathan MacKinnon - 12.60 million

MacKinnon will enter the coming season with the highest AAV of 12.6 million as the Auston Matthews AAV contract will only start from 2024-25.

The 6 feet 1 inch tall center has been with the Colorado Avalanche franchise since 2013, after being selected as the first overall pick in the draft.

Source : instagram

Nathan signed a $11.325 million deal with Avalanche in 2013. He then signed an extension contract of $44.1 million for 7 years on July 9, 2016.

After leading the Colorado Avalanche to the Stanley Cup title, MacKinnon signed a whooping 8-year, $100,800,000 contract with a cap hit of $12.6 million on September 20, 2022.

Connor McDavid - 12.50 million

Connor McDavid AAV is 12.50 million having signed the lengthy eight-year, $100,000,000 contract with the Edmonton Oilers on July 5, 2017.

Prior to that, McDavid had signed a three-year entry-level contract on 3rd July 2015 worth $11,325,000. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2025-26 season.

However, the franchise will desperately make all the possible attempts to keep their best player for years to come with an extension contract.

Connie has been putting on great performances since making his league debut in 2015, with the Stanley Cup being the only missing silverware.

McDavid has won the coveted Hart Memorial Trophy thrice, the Ted Lindsay Award four times, the Art Ross Trophy five times, and the Rocket Richard Trophy once.

Artemi Paneni - 11.64 million

Panarin signed a $81,500,000 contract for 7 years with NY Rangers on 1st July 2019. The left winger has an annual average salary of $11,642,857.

Artemi initially signed a two-year contract with the Blackhawks on Dec. 28, 2016. However, he was traded to the Blue Jackets on June 23, 2017.

Source : instagram

The Russian ice hockey player has been a consistent performer for the New York Rangers making it to the NHL All-Star Game in 2020 and 2023.

Artemi became the 5th fastest player to reach 400 assists in the NHL, reaching the milestone in his 529th game, only behind Wayne Gretzky, Peter Stastny, Bobby Orr, and Adam Oates.

Erik Karlsson - 11.50 million

The Penguins new defenceman earns an annual average salary of 11.50 million. Erik has so far signed three NHL contracts worth $141.4 million.

Karlsson was traded to the Pittsburgh franchise on Aug 6, 2023. His salary for the upcoming 2023-24 season includes $10.5 million in base salary and $1 million in signing bonus.

Erik will be entering his 15th NHL season, having played his first 9 seasons for the Ottawa Senators and the next 5 with the San Jose Sharks.

Known for his defensive skills and aggressive style, the Swedish star has won the James Norris Memorial Trophy thrice in 2012, 2015, and 2023.

David Pastrnak - 11.25 million

David Pastrnak signed a $90 million contract with the Boston Bruins on 2nd March 2023. Pastrnak will be a UFA at the end of the 2030-31 season.

The eight-year luxurious agreement has a cap hit of $11,250,000. The right winger has been with the Bruins since the very beginning of his career.

Source : instagram

David was picked as the 25th overall pick by Boston in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. He then signed a 3-year entry-level contract worth $2,775,000.

After the conclusion of the entry-level agreement, the Czech international signed a new six-year extension deal of $40 million on Sep 14, 2017.

Pastrnak has registered 301 goals and 316 assists across 592 games for the Bruins. He also won the Rocket Richard Trophy in the 2019-20 season.

John Tavares - 11 million

Tavares will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2024-25 season when his current seven-year, $77 million contract ends with the Maple Leafs.

Currently serving as the Toronto team captain, John continues to be a crucial player for the franchise, racking up goals and assists every season.

He was drafted as the first overall pick by the New York Islanders in 2009 and then signed a three-year entry-level contract worth $11,250,000.

Tavares was widely touted as the greatest free agent in modern NHL agent history when his extension contract with the Islanders ended in 2018.

The 32-year-old forward has played over 1,000 games in the NHL, registering 427 goals and 548 assists en route to accumulating 975 total points.

Drew Doughty - 11 million

Doughty is the alternate captain of the LA Kings. He has spent his entire NHL career with the franchise since being drafted 2nd overall in 2008.

The offensive defenceman has an AAV of $11 million for the upcoming 2023-24 season, with his contract running through the 2026-27 season.

Doughty signed a lengthy and lucrative 8-year contract with the Los Angeles Kings worth $88 million with a cap hit of $11 million on July 1, 2018.

Source : twitter

Over the course of his NHL career, Drew has signed three contracts with a total value of $154,425,000. His entry-level contract was $10,425,000.

Doughty played a significant role along with his teammates en route to winning the Stanley Cup titles with the LA Kings in 2011-12 and 2013-14.

Furthermore, he also won the highly coveted James Norris Memorial Trophy in 2015-16 as the best defenseman in the National Hockey League.

Mitchell Marner - 10.90 million

The 26-year-old Mitch Marner has been an absolute revelation for the Maple Leafs franchise in recent seasons, courtesy of his all-around skills.

The Canadian right-winger currently earns an average annual salary of $10.90 million, per his 6-year contract worth $65,408,000 signed in 2019.

Marner was selected by the Maple Leafs as the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and made his league debut in the 2016-17 season.

Since then, Mitch has already played 507 games in the NHL, scoring 168 goals and 386 assists. He will be a UFA at the end of the 2024-25 season.

Carey Price - 10.50 million

Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens ranks among the highest-paid goaltenders in the league with an average annual salary of $10.50 million.

His current 8-year contract worth $84,000,000 with a cap hit of 10,500,000 with the Canadiens will run through the 2025-26 season. Carey will then become an unrestricted free agent aged 38 years old.

Source : twitter

The veteran netminder has so far signed 4 contracts in the NHL which sum up to $135,100,000. He was selected as the fifth overall pick by the Montreal Canadiens in 2005.

Price first signed the three-year entry-level contract of $6,600,000 with the franchise on April 10, 2007. He then signed contract extensions in 2010, 2012 and 2017.

Carey has played 15 seasons in the NHL, whilst starting 700 games and registering an impressive save percentage of .917 for the Canadiens.