Skip to main content

Highest-paid NHL players in 2023-24

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Colorado Avalanche
Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL entered the salary cap era after canceling the 2004-05 season while league officials, owners, and the players association worked towards a common financial goal to get the sport back into action. Since that first season, when the salary cap started at $39 million, thanks to expansion, lucrative TV deals, and global games, the salary cap currently sits at $83.5 million.

The NHL expects the salary cap to continue climbing, reaching $92 million in 2025-26 due to record profits. Since owners and teams are making money, players are seeing salary increases, with the average salary at $3.5 million. Although that is the average, some of the game’s best players make almost four times that amount, so who are these players? Let’s see who the highest-paid players in the NHL are, per CapFriendly.

Related: Top 25 NHL trade candidates ahead of deadline

NHL highest-paid players in 2023-24 season

T9. Carey Price (G) Montreal Canadiens

Cap hit: $10.5 million

Salary: $8.5 million

Carey Price is a former Hart and Vezina Trophy winner who hasn’t skated in the NHL since April 29, 2022, because knee injuries have prematurely ended his career. However, he remains on the Montreal Canadiens payroll with an annual salary of $10.5 million, thanks to an eight-year agreement he signed in 2017 that pays the goalie $84 million until the conclusion of the 2025-26 season. Since Price is not expected to play again, the Canadiens will receive cap relief by having him on LTIR for the next two seasons.

T9. Jonathan Huberdeau (LW/RW) Calgary Flames

Cap hit: $10.5 million

Salary: $10.5 million

Jonathan Huberdeau came to the Calgary Flames in the summer of 2022 in a blockbuster trade from the Florida Panthers. With one year left on a contract that paid him $5.9 million, he signed an eight-year extension with his new club valued at $84 million, which will pay him $10.5 million annually. Unfortunately, Huberdeau hasn’t lived up to his salary after a season and a half, scoring 55 points last season and on pace for roughly the same in 2023-24.

T9. Mitchell Marner (RW) Toronto Maple Leafs

Cap hit: $10.5 million

Salary: $8.025 million

Mitchell Marner is one of the players who make up the core four of the Toronto Maple Leafs, along with Auston Matthews, John Tavares and Morgan Rielly. Interestingly, Marner is on the second to last season of a six-year agreement that pays him $10.9 million yearly, a significant upgrade over his initial contract that paid him $894,167 from 2015 to 2019. Although he has yet to reach 100 points in the regular season, he collected over 94 in three seasons and is on pace to reach triple digits in 2023-24.

T7. John Tavares (C/LW) Toronto Maple Leafs

Cap hit: $11 million

Salary: $7.95 million

John Tavares spent the first part of his career with the New York Islanders before coming home (Mississauga, ON) to the Maple Leafs as a free agent in 2018. After agreeing to a seven-year deal worth $77 million ($11 million annually), Tavares assumed the captaincy in Toronto and continues to face criticism from the fans and local media for failed playoff drives while underperforming in the regular season.

Related: Why Maple Leafs coach, captain need to grow up about Morgan Rielly attack on Ridly Greig

T7. Drew Doughty (D) Los Angeles Kings

Cap hit: $11 million

Salary: $11 million

Drew Doughty helped the Kings win the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014, and he earned the Norris Trophy as the League’s best defenseman in 2015-16, making $7 million annually. Then, in 2018, he re-signed with the Los Angeles Kings for an additional eight years for $88 million, increasing his annual salary to $11 million. Although he hasn’t won any more awards during his current contract, now at 34, he remains one of the NHL leaders in ice time, playing over 25 minutes a night.

6. David Pastrnak (RW) Boston Bruins

Cap hit: $11.25 million

Salary: $13 million

In 2022-23, David Pastrnak had the best season of his career, netting 61 goals and finishing with 113 points. As one of the best scorers in Boston Bruins history, he achieved some fantastic totals on a modest $6.67 million contract he signed in 2017, which led to a significant pay increase in 2023 to $11.25 million. Considering that this is the largest contract the team ever handed out ($90 million), there’s a good chance that Pastrnak finishes his career in black and gold while etching his name into the record books as the franchise’s all-time leading goal scorer.

5. Erik Karlsson (D) Pittsburgh Penguins

Cap hit: $11.5 million

Salary: $11.5 million

Erik Karlsson is a three-time Norris Trophy winner and only one of six defensemen to score 100 points in a season. While skating with the Ottawa Senators, he agreed to a seven-year deal worth $45 million, becoming the NHL’s best defenseman twice before being traded to the San Jose Sharks. During the summer of 2019, he became the League’s highest-paid defender, with an annual salary of $11.5 million. As crippling as that figure is towards a team’s salary cap, the 2023 Norris Trophy winner was dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins this past summer, where he counts 12.0 percent towards their cap.

T3. Auston Matthews (C) Toronto Maple Leafs

Cap hit: $11.64 million

Salary: $7.95 million

Auston Matthews is among the best scorers in NHL history, winning a scoring title and a league MVP award before turning 26. As one of the few players to score 60 goals in a season, he’s working his magic on an expiring deal that pays him $11.64 million annually. Although he currently ranks fourth on this list, in the fall of 2024, he will jump to the top thanks to a four-year extension worth $53 million, bumping his annual salary to $13.5 million, more than any other skater currently in the NHL.

T3. Artemi Panarin (LW) New York Rangers

Cap hit: $11.64 million

Salary: $11 million

Artemi Panarin is one of this generation’s most gifted players, who has produced at more than a point-per-game pace throughout his NHL career. As a four-time 30-goal scorer, when he became a free agent in 2019, he took his talents to Broadway, agreeing to a seven-year deal with the New York Rangers, who pay him $11.64 million a season. Although the Rangers have yet to win the Stanley Cup with Panarin in the lineup, he’s been a star player for an Original Six franchise, which still has a chance to win with him under contract until the end of the 2025-26 season.

2. Connor McDavid (C) Edmonton Oilers

Cap hit: $12.5 million

Salary: $11 million

When Connor McDavid agreed to a lengthy eight-year extension in 2017 worth $100 million ($12.5 million annually), the former first-overall pick had 148 points in 127 games. Six years into the deal, he’s netted 773 points in 487 games; with so many scoring titles (five) and MVPs (three) on his mantle, he’s guaranteed a spot in the Hall of Fame at 27. Unfortunately, the Edmonton Oilers haven’t played in the Stanley Cup Final with McDavid in the lineup. Although he’s likely underpaid, McDavid has two seasons left on his current deal and could look to find a true contender to skate with as a free agent in 2026.

1. Nathan MacKinnon (C) Colorado Avalanche

Cap hit: $12.6 million

Salary: $16.5 million

Nathan MacKinnon won the Calder Trophy in 2013, then signed his first big contract with the Colorado Avalanche in 2016, agreeing to a seven-year pact valued at $42 million ($6.3 million annually). After racking up 606 points in 491 games and winning a Stanley Cup title in 2022, MacKinnon skyrocketed to the top of the pay chart in 2022. Before his expiring deal, he re-signed with the Avalanche for eight years at $100.8 million, making him the highest-paid NHL player (for now) at $12.6 million.

NHL Financial Landscape

Note: Players listed in bold have won the Stanley Cup, while players listed in italics have one of the top contracts in the NHL.

Top 5 NHL Highest Payrolls ($83.5 million ceiling)

  • Montreal Canadiens $89,174,460
  • Vegas Golden Knights $90,271,972
  • Colorado Avalanche $91,225,052
  • Tampa Bay Lightning $92,096,751
  • Toronto Maple Leafs $97,783,646

Top 5 Lowest Payrolls ($61.7 million floor)

  • Columbus Blue Jackets $79,447,495
  • Nashville Predators $75,589,706
  • Buffalo Sabres $75,445,593
  • Anaheim Ducks $75,072,366
  • Chicago Blackhawks $74,938,343

Highest Paid Goalies

  • Matt Murray (Toronto) $6.25 million
  • John Gibson (Anaheim) $6.4 million
  • Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay) $9.5 million
  • Sergei Bobrovsky (Florida) $10 million
  • Carey Price (Montreal) $10.5 million

Highest Paid Defensemen

  • Seth Jones (Chicago) $9.5 million
  • Charlie McAvoy (Boston) $9.5 million
  • Adam Fox (New York) $9.5 million
  • Zachary Werenski (Columbus) $9.58 million
  • Drew Doughty (Los Angeles) $11 million
  • Erik Karlsson (Pittsburgh) $11.5 million

Highest Paid Left Wingers

  • Alex Ovechkin (Washington) $9.5 million
  • Jamie Benn (Dallas) $9.5 million
  • Johnny Gaudreau (Columbus) $9.75 million
  • Jonathan Huberdeau (Calgary) $10.5 million
  • Artemi Panarin (New York) $11.6 million

Highest Paid Right Wingers

  • Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay) $9.5 million
  • Matthew Tkachuk (Calgary) $9.5 million
  • Mark Stone (Vegas) $9.5 million
  • Mitch Marner (Toronto) $10.9 million
  • David Pastrnak (Boston) $11.5 million

Highest Paid Centers

  • Jack Eichel (Vegas) $10 million
  • Alexander Barkov (Florida) $10 million
  • Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles) $10 million
  • John Tavares (Toronto) $11 million
  • Auston Matthews (Toronto) $11.6 million
  • Connor McDavid (Edmonton) $12.5 million
  • Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado) $12.6 million

NHL Salary Cap History

  • 2019-20: $81.5 million (upper), $60.2 million (lower)
  • 2020-21: $81.5 million (upper), $60.2 million (lower)
  • 2021-22: $81.5 million (upper), $60.2 million (lower)
  • 2022-23: $82.5 million (upper), $61.0 million (lower)
  • 2023-24: $83.5 million (upper), $61.7 million (lower)
  • 2024-25: $87.5 million (upper), $64.7 million (lower) – projected
Mentioned in this article:

More About: