Average NHL Salary: How Much do Hockey Players Make?

Salary is the most appealing thing as money is necessary for life. Fans always wonder how much their favorite players make per year. In NHL, players are paid according to their ranks and performances. The player’s salaries are also increasing over the years.

So, what is the average NHL salary? Over the years, there has been a significant increase in the average salary of NHL players, increasing to $3.5 million per year. During the 2022-23 season, 773 NHL players were paid $3,196,767. The wages offered by the NHL during the year 2022-2023 are between $750,000 to $13 million, which is to be increased to $15 million in the coming year.

Keep reading this article to learn more about the average salary of NHL players. You will also learn more information, such as the NHL’s high, low, and median salaries and the comparison of NHL salaries with other sports and hockey leagues.

NHL Salary Structure

Players can sign more than one NHL contract. Their first salary might be less as they are new to the game, but they increase as time pass. As restricted free agent players can sign with 7 or 8 years with their team.

Two-way NHL Contracts

At the start of a career, an NHL player signed to a two-way contract is not guaranteed to earn their full salary. This is because they are also signed to an AHL contract (minor affiliate team), a much lower salary.

Buried Contracts

A player earning an NHL salary but not on the NHL roster is considered under a buried contract. In this contract, players don’t receive the full salary cap if they are part of the one-way contract.

As we have discussed, the NHL contract will help us know about the average salaries of different positions in the NHL.

What is the average salary of an NHL goaltender?

In NHL, there are a total of 74 goaltenders under contract for the season. Out of which, six goalies make $750,000, 59 make $1.0 million, and 35 earn an average NHL salary.

Sergei Bobrovsky from Florida Panther, the highest-paid goalie during the season 2022-23, earned $12,000,000. Andrei Vasilevskiy from Tamps Bay Lightning has made $11,000,000 and is in 8th position.

So, the average salary of an NHL goaltender is $3,324,615 for the season 2022-23.

In the NHL, 59 goaltenders make $1.0 million or more, while 6 goalies earn a minimum salary, i.e., USD 750,000. Last but not least 35 goalies make an average NHL salary as a goaltender.

What is the average salary of an NHL defenseman?

The average salary of an NHL Defenseman is less than that of a goaltender. During the season 2022-23, 252 defensemen played. The highest-paid NHL defenseman is Darnell Nurse from Edmonton Oilers and Erik Karlsson from San Jose Sharks, making $12,000,000 during the recent season.

Drew Doughty from Los Angeles Kings and Adam Fox from New York Rangers make $11,00,000. And $10,500,000 are given to Oliver Ekman Larsson as salary.

So, the average salary of an NHL defenseman is $3,106,167 for the year 2022-23.

What is the average salary for a forward player in NHL?

The total number of forward players during 2022-23 is 447. Tyler Seguin from Dallas Stars is the highest-paid player among them, making about $13,000,000.

So, the average salary of NHL forwards will be $3,26,679.

Among all of them, NHL paid the highest amount to their goaltenders. There is a difference of about $200,000 between the salary of all these positions.

NHL team salary and roster obligations

While deciding the players’ salary, the manager must follow some rules.

  • Firstly, each team can have a maximum of 23 players on its active roster, and their salary count is against the NHL salary cap.
  • Besides active players, each team should have some backup players in case any player faces health issues. In other words, the team has to pay other than active players.
  • In the case of an emergency, such as an injury or the replacement of players with another team, each team has 24 players at the start of the season and ends with 30 players.
  • A player’s salary cap is determined by dividing the total contract by the years signed.

What is the highest salary for NHL players?

Currently, Nathan MacKinnon is the highest-paid player, getting $12.6 million. Five players are ranked as the highest-paid NHL players during 2022-23.

RankPlayer NameSalary (Yearly)
1Nathan MacKinnon$12.6 million
2Connor McDavid$12.5 million
3Artemi Panarin$11.64 million
4Auston Matthews$11.64 million
5Erik Karlsson$11.5 million

What is the lowest salary for an NHL player?

The lowest salary for the NHL season 2022-23 is $750,000, which has increased with time. The lowest salary helps determine the average and highest Salary of NHL players. It will be 775,000 in 2023. Out of 700 players, 82 of them are given an average salary. It is given to new players and those who are part-time NHLers. Sam Gagner, Zach Parise, Zach Bogosian, and Marc Staal are some players who are paid the lowest.

The table below shows the change in the average salary over the year.

SeasonConfirmed% ChangeMinimum Salary (USD)
2025-26NHL Estimate5.14%$775,000
2024-25NHL Estimate4.79%$775,000
2023-24NHL Estimate1.21%$775,000
2022-23Mar. 29, 20221.23%$750,000
2021-22Jul. 1, 20210.00%$750,000
2020-21Jul. 10, 20200.00%$700,000
2019-20Jun. 22, 20192.52%$700,000
2018-19Jun. 21, 20186.00%$650,000
2017-18Jun. 18, 20172.74%$650,000
The NHL salary breakdown by year

What is the median salary for an NHL Player?

The median salary of NHL players is $2.35 million. Dale Weise, from Montreal, Canadian, is getting a medium salary. It is given to players whose performance is better than Low salary players.

What is the average NHL salary compared to the highest, lowest, and median salaries?

NHL players are paid according to their performance. The highest salary of an NHL player is $12.5 million. The lowest salary is $750,000, while the median is $2.35 million. The highest salary is $10.15 million, more than the median.

There is a significant difference between all these salaries. Out of 80% money that the NHL makes, 20% is given to the top-performing players. In comparison, the other 20% goes to the other two.

Player NamePositionLow SalaryAverage SalaryHighest Salary
Tyler SeguinAll$750,000$3,197,000$13,000,00
Tyler SeguinForward$750,000$3,227,000$13,000,00
Erik Karlsson / Darnell NurseDefenseman$750,000$3,106,000$12,000,000
Sergei BobrovskyGoaltender$750,000$3,324,000$12,000,000

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the NHL salary cap for 2022-23?

The salary of the NHL has been increased by $1 million, and the NHL salary cap for the year 2022-2023 is $85.5 million.

Do NHL players get paid monthly?

NHL players are paid on the 15th and 30th of every month means that they are paid twice a month. Their salaries are calculated to be dividing their daily salary by the number of days in NHL season.

What position is the highest paid in hockey?

In the NHL, the goaltender is the highest-paid position. During the 2022-23 season, they are being paid $3,324,615.

Conclusion

Average NHL salary changes with time, and every team gives different salaries to their players according to the player’s performance and revenue generated by teams. The wages of NHL players are better than those in other leagues.

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  3. The ultimate guide to NHL waivers

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