The National Hockey League 2014-2015 regular season will commence on Oct. 8, 2014, bringing together 30 teams to compete for the coveted Stanley Cup.
As a result of the NHL salary cap, hockey players don’t get offered the unbelievable salaries that other American national league sports see. In fact, the salary cap is causing havoc among some teams as they’ve had to jettison highly paid players –- such as Tampa Bay’s buyout of Lecavalier’s contract – in order to maintain a balanced team structure. This coming season the salary cap has been set at $69 million per team. But in spite of the cap, the league’s top players are still doing quite well.
In the lead up to the first puck drop, here are the highest-paid NHL players in the league today, both on and off the ice.
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Canadian hockey player Sidney Crosby is currently captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and boasts the highest earnings in the league today. Although he’s not the highest-paid player in the league, Crosby’s significant off-ice endorsements slide him into the top-earner's spot.
In 2012, Crosby signed a 12-year, $104 million contract extension with the Penguins, which netted him $12 million last season. According to Forbes, Crosby is the league’s most marketable player, and his deal with Reebok is the largest in the league. He also has endorsement deals with Tim Hortons, Gatorade and Bell. In total, his deals and endorsements added up to an additional $4.5 million in earnings last season.
CelebrityNetWorth.com reports that, thanks to his significant paycheck, Sidney Crosby is worth a cool $45 million.
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Shea Weber is currently the NHL’s highest-paid player, earning $14 million per season. At the start of the 2012-2013 season, Weber inked a 14-year contract with the Nashville Predators for a total of $110 million, which pays $14 million in each of the first four years. According to TheRichest.com, Weber's net worth is $24 million.
However, Weber earns almost nothing from his off-ice endorsements — partly as a result of the limited Nashville market -– with his additional earnings for the 2013-2014 season raking in only $100,000.
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When Zach Parise moved from the New Jersey Devils to the Minnesota Wild in 2012, he signed a 13-year contract worth $98 million. The deal is front loaded, giving him a signing bonus for the first three years. This means that for the 2014-2015 season, Parise will net $11 million, making him the third-highest paid player in the league.
Off the ice, Parise signed a few deals leading up to the Sochi Olympics, including Polo Ralph Lauren, Chobani and Got Chocolate Milk. In total, his endorsements are worth an additional $800,000 annually.
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Ryan Suter also plays for the Minnesota Wild and has exactly the same contract as teammate Parise. Like Parise, he has a 13-year contract worth $98 million, which will net him $11 million for the 2014-2015 season.
Suter was chosen for the U.S. hockey team at the Sochi games, and Gillette featured his family in an ad shown during the Olympic coverage. According to Forbes, Suter earns an additional $125,000 in his off-ice endorsements.
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Alex Ovechkin, originally from Russia, is the Washington Capitals star left wing and a three-time Most Valuable Player winner. For the 2014-2015 season, Ovechkin is set to earn $10 million, making him the highest-paid player on the Capitals and the fifth-highest paid in the league.
Ovechkin is a star both in the U.S. and in his home country of Russia. During the Sochi Olympics, he picked up a number of endorsements to add to the companies already sponsoring him. He now counts Coca-Cola, Gillette, Nike, Bauer and Kraft Canada among his sponsors, which earn him $3.5 million in off-ice endorsements.
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After 14 years at the club, the Tampa Bay Lighting paid Canadian hockey player Vincent Lecavalier $32.7 million to buyout the last seven years of his contract. The money will be paid out over seven years, earning him $4.76 million last season. Last year he also signed a five-year, $22.5 million deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, bringing his total on-ice income to just under $11 million, as reported by Forbes. Lecavalier also earns approximately $250,000 annually off the ice.
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Eric Staal is the eldest of the four Staal brothers playing in the NHL, and plays center for the Carolina Hurricanes. Staal currently has a seven-year contract with the Hurricanes worth $57.8 million, which is set to expire at the end of the 2015-2016 season. The contract earns him a cool $9.25 million annual salary.
On top of this, Staal also receives another $250,000 in off-ice deals. He and his brothers have a family endorsement deal with hockey equipment maker Bauer, while Staal also receives sponsorship from General Mills and trading card companies.
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