Skip to Content

How Much Do Hockey Players Make (Season 2022-2023)

Heorhii Rysak

Have you ever wondered how much money professional hockey players make?

NHL player salaries are a critical aspect of the sport of hockey. The salaries that players earn not only impact their livelihood but also affect the competitiveness of the league as a whole. NHL players are among the highest-paid athletes in the world, with some of the top players earning tens of millions of dollars per year. Understanding the intricacies of NHL player salaries is essential for players, teams, and fans alike, as it helps to provide insight into how the league operates and how players are compensated for their talents and contributions to the sport. So, let`s discover how much hockey players make.

How Much Do Professional Hockey Players Make: Basic Information

NHL player salaries refer to the amount of money paid to professional hockey players for their services to the league. The structure of NHL player salaries is divided into several categories, including entry-level contracts, veteran contracts, and performance-based bonuses.

Several factors influence NHL player salaries, including player performance, experience, position, and market demand. Top-performing players with a significant impact on their team’s success are often compensated more highly than their peers. Experienced players with a track record of success may also command higher salaries. Additionally, market demand in different cities and regions can impact player salaries.

NHL player salaries are crucial to players, teams, and fans alike. For players, their salaries determine their livelihood and future career opportunities. For teams, player salaries can impact their ability to sign top talent and create a competitive roster. Fans are also impacted by player salaries, as they influence ticket prices and overall league competitiveness. Understanding the basics of NHL player salaries is essential for everyone involved in the hockey industry.

How Much Do NHL Hockey Players Make: Minimum Salary

The NHL operates under a cap-based system for player salaries, with the league setting a minimum and maximum spending cap based on overall league profits each year. While the minimum salary for players is fixed at $750,000 USD, the maximum salary for any individual player is tied to the upper cap limit. For the 2022-23 NHL season, the maximum limit is set at $82.5 million USD, meaning that no player’s salary can exceed 20% of this amount, which equals $16.5 million USD.

It’s important to note that the league minimum salary is set to increase to $775,000 USD in the 2023-24 season. The table below shows the yearly NHL minimum salary set in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for reference:

NHL Season Minimum Salary (USD)
2020-21 $700,000
2021-22 $750,000
2022-23 $750,000
2023-24 $775,000
2024-25 $775,000
2025-26 $775,000

Given these parameters, the average NHL salary falls somewhere in between the minimum and maximum limits.

As of the start of the 2022-23 season, the average salary for an NHL player is $3,196,767 USD. This value is based on 773 player signings, including both two-way and buried contracts. The highest-paid player in the league is Tyler Seguin, earning $13,000,000 USD per year, while 82 players receive the league minimum salary of $750,000 USD per year

It is important to note that long-term contracts in the NHL can have varying annual pay, which means that not all of the league’s highest-paid players receive the same annual salary every year. While Tyler Seguin is currently the highest-paid player in the 2022-23 season, earning $13,000,000 USD, other players may have earned more in a single season in the past. For instance, Mitch Marner from the Toronto Maple Leafs holds the record for the highest single-season salary in NHL history, earning $16,000,000 USD in 2019.

However, it’s worth noting that Marner’s salary has since dropped down to $8,000,000 USD based on his current contract agreement. It’s also essential to recognize that the current average NHL player salary is $3,196,767 USD, with 70.3% of players earning $1,000,000 USD or more and 42.6% earning more than the league average. These salary values are based on the current season salaries, and not the annual cap hits from player contracts. The salaries are calculated by adding each player’s base salary and respective signing bonuses.

Many factors influence which players earn the average salary, including their position, experience, and performance. Generally, players with a few years of experience and consistent on-ice performance tend to earn the average salary. However, some players may sign contracts above or below the average salary depending on their negotiation skills and market demand.

Compared to other major sports leagues, the NHL’s average salary is lower than that of the NFL and NBA but higher than that of MLB. However, it is essential to note that the number of games played and the size of the league’s revenue pie can impact these comparisons. Nonetheless, the average salary in the NHL is competitive and attractive to top talent from around the world.

Highest NHL Player Salaries for the Season 2022-23

The NHL and the NHL Players’ Association (NHLPA) negotiate a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that establishes the salary cap for all teams for upcoming seasons. The current CBA, which was ratified by the NHL and NHLPA in July 2020, was extended through 2026 and set a salary cap of $81.5 million USD until the NHL reached a specific revenue threshold. As of the 2022-23 season, all teams have the same salary cap of $81.5 million USD.

However, individual player contracts can vary based on factors such as points per game and average time spent on the ice. By adding a player’s contract amount and signing bonus and dividing the total by the number of years on their contract, you can find their average annual value (AAV). According to Spotrac, the players with the highest approximate AAVs for the 2022-23 season are as follows:

Name Team Position Average Salary per Month Average Salary per Year
1 Nathan MacKinnon COL C $1,050,000 $12,600,000
2 Connor McDavid EDM C $1,041,667 $12,500,000
3 Artemi Panarin NYR LW $970,238 $11,642,857
4 Auston Matthews TOR C $970,021 $11,640,250
5 Erik Karlsson SJS D $958,333 $11,500,000
6 David Pastrnak BOS RW $937,500 $11,250,000
7 John Tavares TOR C $916,667 $11,000,000
8 Drew Doughty LAK D $916,667 $11,000,000
9 Mitchell Marner TOR RW $908,583 $10,903,000
10 Carey Price MTL G $875,000 $10,500,000

These values are based on each player’s current contract and do not necessarily reflect the actual amount they will receive each year.

NHL Player Contracts

Two-way NHL contracts refer to agreements between players and their teams that allow for different salaries and benefits depending on whether the player is playing in the NHL or a minor league affiliate. For example, a player may earn a higher salary when playing in the NHL and a lower salary when playing in the minor leagues. These contracts provide teams with more flexibility in managing their rosters and allow players to earn a living while developing their skills in the minor leagues.

Salaries of hockey players

Buried contracts, also known as “burying” contracts, refer to the practice of assigning players with high salaries to minor league affiliates to save on salary cap space. In this scenario, the player’s salary still counts against the team’s salary cap, but the team can save money by paying a lower salary to a player in the minor leagues. This practice is often used by teams with high payroll expenses to stay within the NHL’s salary cap limits and remain competitive.

It is important to note that the use of two-way contracts and buried contracts can impact player salaries and career opportunities. Players may earn less than their market value in the minor leagues, and their opportunities to play in the NHL may be limited by the team’s use of buried contracts. Nonetheless, these contract structures play a crucial role in the NHL’s salary structure and roster management.

NHL Player Salaries by Position

Understanding NHL player salaries by position is crucial for gaining insight into how the league operates and how players are compensated based on their roles and performance. In this section, we will explore how much hockey players make a year by position and how they compare to each other.

The Average Salary for an NHL Goaltender

For the 2022-23 season, the average salary for an NHL goaltender is $3,324,615 USD, with 74 goaltenders currently under contract. Sergei Bobrovsky from the Florida Panthers is the highest-paid goaltender in the league, earning $12,000,000 USD for the current season. It’s worth noting that Bobrovsky has the third-highest salary in the entire NHL this season.

Following closely behind Bobrovsky is Andrei Vasilevskiy, the goaltender for the Tampa Bay Lightning, listed at #8 with a salary of $11,000,000 USD. Of all the goalies in the league, 79.7% are earning $1.0 million USD or more, while 8.1% receive the NHL league minimum of $750,000 USD. Additionally, 47.3% of all goalies are earning more than the average NHL goaltender’s salary of $3,324,615 USD.

The Average Salary for an NHL Defenseman

In the 2022-23 season, the average salary for an NHL defenseman is $3,106,167 USD based on 252 contracts signed by defensemen. Darnell Nurse from the Edmonton Oilers and Erik Karlsson from the San Jose Sharks are the highest-paid defensemen in the league, earning $12,000,000 USD each. Notably, both Nurse and Karlsson are tied for the third spot in the overall salary rankings.

Other notable defensemen include Drew Doughty from the Los Angeles Kings and Adam Fox from the New York Rangers, both ranked at #8 with a salary of $11,000,000 USD. Oliver Ekman-Larsson from the Vancouver Canucks follows at the #11 spot, earning $10,500,000 USD.

It’s interesting to note that NHL defensemen earn almost $200,000 USD less on average than goaltenders.

The Average Salary for an NHL Forward

For the 2020-21 season, the average salary for an NHL forward was $3,226,679 USD, with 447 forwards signed to NHL contracts. As mentioned earlier, Tyler Seguin from the Dallas Stars is the highest-paid forward in the league, earning $13,000,000 USD.

When it comes to salaries across positions, NHL goaltenders are paid the most, with the difference in pay among positions being less than $200,000 USD.

Now that we have identified which group earns the most, let’s shift our focus to the factors that contribute to NHL player salaries and the role of general managers in negotiating contracts.

NHL Team Salary and Roster Obligations

The NHL’s salary cap is a set limit on the total amount of money that teams can spend on player salaries. As of the 2021-2022 season, the NHL’s salary cap is $81.5 million, although teams can exceed the cap by a certain amount through various exceptions and allowances. The salary cap is intended to promote parity among teams and ensure a level playing field in terms of financial resources.

Team salary and roster obligations can significantly impact player salaries in the NHL. The salary cap limits the amount of money that teams can spend on player salaries, which can impact individual player salaries. Teams may prioritize spending on certain positions or players, which can impact salaries across the roster. Additionally, teams must navigate the challenges of managing their roster to ensure that they meet the league’s roster obligations, such as a minimum number of players and salary cap compliance. This can impact player salaries as teams may need to sign players to different types of contracts or use buried contracts to meet their obligations.

Team salary and roster obligations play a critical role in the NHL’s salary structure and roster management. These factors impact the financial well-being of players, team competitiveness, and league parity. Understanding the impact of team salary and roster obligations on player salaries is essential for players, teams, and fans alike.


NHL player salaries are a critical aspect of the sport of hockey, with significant implications for players, teams, and fans. This comprehensive guide provides an overview of NHL player salaries, including their structure, average salaries, highest and lowest salaries, player contracts, and the impact of team salary and roster obligations on player compensation. Understanding these factors is crucial for gaining insight into the inner workings of the NHL and how players are compensated for their skills and contributions to the sport.


How Much Do Professional Hockey Players Make?

As of the start of the 2022-23 season, the average salary for NHL players is $3,196,767 USD. This figure is determined by considering 773 player signings, including all types of contracts such as buried contracts and two-way contracts. It reflects the overall average earnings of players in the league during that period.

Does Hockey Pay More than Football?

Comparing the salaries in hockey and football (soccer) is a complex matter as it depends on various factors such as the specific league, level of competition, and individual player contracts. In general, the salaries of top-tier football players tend to be higher than those of professional hockey players. Football has a wider global audience and generates substantial revenue, leading to higher salaries for elite players. However, it’s important to note that there can be significant variations within each sport, and individual circumstances can greatly influence earnings.

How Much Do Hockey Players Make Per Playoff Game?

The amount of money hockey players make per playoff game can vary depending on factors such as their individual contracts and the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the league and the players’ association. In the National Hockey League (NHL), players do not receive specific additional compensation per playoff game. Teams that are eliminated in the first round of the playoffs receive $2 million in compensation, with $250,000 allocated to each of the eight teams. For second-round losers, the compensation is $2 million, with $500,000 assigned to each of the four teams. Conference final losers receive $2.5 million, with $1.25 million provided to each of the two teams.

How Much Does the NHL Make a Year?

As of the 2020/21 season, the NHL generated a total league revenue of approximately $2.33 billion USD annually. This figure includes revenue from various sources such as ticket sales, broadcasting rights, merchandise sales, sponsorships, and other commercial ventures. It is important to note that league revenue can fluctuate from season to season based on factors like attendance, performance, and external influences, but the NHL remains a significant revenue-generating sports league.

Looking for the latest news and stories in the world of sports? Look no further! Our website specializes in covering boxing, fitness, golf, hockey, MMA, and tennis. Whether you’re interested in learning about training techniques, following your favorite golfers, or staying updated on the MMA scene, our site has it all. Visit for your daily sports fix.