Hockey and other professional sports attract the most attention because of their large and expensive contracts. Everyone wonders how much players in their favorite sports are making at the bottom end.
What is the lowest salary in the NHL? In the season 2022-2023, the player’s lowest salary is $750,000, determined by the NHL and NHLPA (Player’s association) set forth collective bargaining agreement. Since 2005, the amount has increased every few years, ensuring players get a balance compensation. The minimum salary has been established by the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which runs until 2025-26.
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The NHL Salary Breakdown by Year
All the people want to make a lot of money in a shorter period. The NHLPA and the NHL collectively ensure that the players are fairly treated and have enough compensation for their efforts; therefore, the salaries are fixed in a certain way.
NHL maps out the lowest salary given to the players each year. The collective bargaining agreement has mandated that the lowest pay for 2022 – 2023 is $750,000. NHL has a salary cap according to which the players’ salaries are determined. When there is a rise in the salary cap, there is a rise in the NHL’s pay. The Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL and the NHLPA sets the minimum salaries of the players for any year.
Here is a table showing the lowest salaries the NHL will be offering for the respective years:
|Season||Confirmed||% Change||Minimum Salary (USD)|
|2022-23||Mar. 29, 2022||1.23%||$750,000|
|2021-22||Jul. 1, 2021||0.00%||$750,000|
|2020-21||Jul. 10, 2020||0.00%||$700,000|
|2019-20||Jun. 22, 2019||2.52%||$700,000|
|2018-19||Jun. 21, 2018||6.00%||$650,000|
|2017-18||Jun. 18, 2017||2.74%||$650,000|
Who makes the League Minimum?
Following are some of the players in the NHL who are currently receiving the lowest salaries:
|List of the Players Making the Lowest Salaries||Belong to (Team)|
Most players who make the lowest salaries in the NHL have rookie contracts or are journeyman players or veterans on their last contract.
Examples of the players making the lowest salaries on their rookie contracts are Carter Hart, Samuel Girard, and Frederik Gauthier. Rookies are the players starting their careers now and want to gain experience and make their names. They also play on lower salaries.
The veteran players now playing the last games of their careers and receiving lesser salaries are Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Jason Spezza. These veteran players have already played a lot of hockey and have also been highly paid. Now, they either want to keep playing for some more time or get a chance to win the Stanley Cup once more.
Other players, too, are making the lowest salaries in the NHL. These players are not yet qualified enough to be regular NHL players and are overqualified for the minors. Some of them are Tobias Reider, Curtis Lazar, and Daniel Carr. Moreover, one of the best sources to check NHL player salaries is CapFriendly.
Why Minimum Salary in the NHL?
As Hockey is a short-term nature game, it’s essential; for players to have guaranteed salary contracts as protection in case of early retirement, as injuries and physical unfitness are typical for them.
Therefore, to settle this, NHLPA is there to negotiate salaries on the player’s behalf. The main concern is to make players protected and compensate somewhat for the risks each time they get onto the ice.
Players can still make multi-millions and save a lot with their average NHL 5 years career at the $750,000 rate per year (Here is a breakdown of the average NHL salary). If they make wise investments out of this money, this would be enough for players and their families for their whole life.
How many Players in the NHL make the League Minimum?
The list of players making the league minimum in the NHL keeps changing, but currently, almost 9% of the players make the league minimum in the NHL. This makes about 98 players out of the total 700 players.
This high ratio of players making league minimum is mainly attributed to the COVD 19 pandemic, due to which the salary cap remained flat. Therefore, more players received the league minimum. Before COVID, 68 players were receiving the league minimum.
What is the Discrepancy between League Minimum and Maximum?
In hockey, the people at the top of the tier make the most money, just like all the other professions. The maximum salary that can be offered to the players is 20% of the salary cap. Therefore, the maximum salary that a player can get is 16.3 million dollars!
According to spotrac, Nathan MacKinnon receives the highest salary of $16.5 million. Teams can pay different salaries to the players in different years. And the lowest salary in 2022-23 is $750,000. A huge difference! The three highly paid players in the NHL make the combined salary of the 65 lowest-paid players.
NHL League Minimum Versus Other Sports
While comparing NHL salaries with the NBA, NFL, and MLB, which sports players make more with zero experience:
- NBA: The lowest salary is dependent on experience. A player with zero experience will get $1,017,781 for the 2022-23 season.
- NFL: The NFL offers a minimum yearly salary of $705,000 for 2022.
- MLB: MLB has set a minimum salary of $700,000 for baseball players in 2022.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much do players make in a game?
NHL players are not paid per game. The players receive semi-monthly payments throughout the regular season. In order to calculate a player’s daily pay, divide the number of days in a regular season by their base salary. Moreover, the average NHL salary is $3.5 million, and the minimum wage is $750,000 for 2022-23.
How much do players make in playoffs?
Teams are not permitted to pay playoff bonuses to players other than players who are entry-level or over 35. However, the NHL makes a way called a ‘playoff’s bonus pool’ through which they compensate players for what they make in playoffs.
Why does the NHL pay less as compared to other sports?
NHL pay less than other sports, such as football and basketball, as their audience is relatively low. The number of audiences FIFA gathers is way higher than the NHL Stanley Cup. So, the NHL’s revenue is significantly shorter than other sports, such as the NBA and NFA.
In conclusion, this is a brief overview of the lowest salaries the NHL offers and the players making this league minimum, along with the determination of salaries and their reasons.