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The NHL isn’t the most popular American sports league, but its top players — less so incoming stars such as Conor Bedard — still earn a ton of money for their talents.

From the 10th-highest through the single highest-paid NHL player in 2023, here are the men with the most significant paychecks, based on total cash earnings this year.

8(tie). Aleksander Barkov: $12 million

  • Base salary: $1 million
  • Signing bonus: $11 million
  • Total contract: 8 years, $80 million (through 2030)

Ten years into his career with the Florida Panthers, Aleksander Barkov has established himself as one of the best centers in hockey, capturing the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in 2018-19 and the Frank J. Selke Trophy in 2020-21 while consistently playing at a point-per-game pace. He signed a massive extension in 2022-23 and should continue to operate a high level on a regular playoff contender.

8(tie). Timo Meier: $12 million

  • Base salary: $6 million
  • Signing bonus: $6 million
  • Total contract: 8 years, $70.4 million (through 2031)

After making his name as a goal-scoring right winger for the San Jose Sharks, Timo Meier was traded to the New Jersey Devils ahead of last season’s trade deadline. The Swiss international’s nine goals and 14 points in 21 games helped the Devils make the playoffs for the first time in five years.

In the postseason, Meier led the team in hits and contributed four points in 11 games. Then, in the offseason, he signed an eight-year, $70.4 million contract extension.

8(tie). Zach Werenski: $12 million

  • Base salary: $10 million
  • Signing bonus: $2 million
  • Total contract: 6 years, $57.5 million (through 2028)

Zach Werenski has battled several serious injuries since the start of his career for the Columbus Blue Jackets, but the two-time All-Star is consistently great whenever he’s fit to play. The Blue Jackets signed the defenseman to a six-year, $57.5 million contract in 2021.

8(tie). Adam Fox: $12 million

  • Base salary: $12 million
  • Signing bonus: $17.5 million
  • Total contract: 7 years, $66.5 million (through 2029)

In Adam Fox, the New York Rangers clearly have a special talent on their hands.

In 2021, he became the second defenseman to win the James Norris Memorial Trophy before starting his third season (the other was the legendary Bobby Orr) and the youngest winner of the award since 2013. As a reward, New York signed him to a seven-year contract worth $66.5 million.

7. Alex Pietrangelo: $12.3 million

  • Base salary: $4.3 million
  • Signing bonus: $35 million
  • Total contract: 7 years, $61.6 million (through 2027)

Alex Pietrangelo is a veteran of the 2008 draft, but he still brings a high level of value on the ice. After a decade of service for the St. Louis Blues, he signed a seven-year, $61.6 million contract for the Las Vegas Knights in 2020.

Since joining the team, Pietrangelo has won one Stanley Cup and made one All-Star game. His base salary for the upcoming season is $4.3 million with a $8 million payout coming via his signing bonus. 

4(tie). Seth Jones: $12.5 million

  • Base salary: $7.5 million
  • Signing bonus: $40.3 million
  • Total contract: 8 years, $76 million (through 2030)

The Chicago Blackhawks have had a tough couple of seasons, but Seth Jones is one of the team’s few bright spots. After acquiring him in a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Chicago signed him to an eight-year, $76 million contract extension. Jones’ base salary this season is $7.5 million, and his signing bonus payout is worth $5 million. 

4(tie). Kirill Kaprizov: $12.5 million

  • Base salary: $12.5 million
  • Signing bonus: $0
  • Total contract: 5 years, $45 million (through 2028)

Kirill the Thrill made waves as the first Minnesota Wild player to win the Rookie of the Year award in 2021. Following that accomplishment, the Russian left winger agreed to a five-year, $45 million extension to stay in Minnesota. In the following two seasons, Kaprizov became the first player in franchise history to score 40 goals in multiple seasons. His base salary is currently $12.5 million, putting him in contention for the title of highest-paid NHL player. 

4(tie). Alex Ovechkin: $12.5 million

  • Base salary: $1 million
  • Signing bonus: $34.5 million
  • Total contract: 5 years, $47.5 million (through 2026)

One of the NHL’s best-ever goalscorers, Alex Ovechkin continues to excel throughout his mid-30s, ending last season with 75 points in 73 games. His base salary next year is only $1 million, but he also has a signing bonus payout worth $11.5 million that will add to his impressive net worth

3. Dougie Hamilton: $12.6 million

  • Base salary: $10.6 million
  • Signing bonus: $2 million
  • Total contract: 7 years, $63 million (through 2028)

After impressive seasons for the Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, and Carolina Hurricanes, Dougie Hamilton signed a seven-year, $63 million contract with the New Jersey Devils in 2021 as the franchise sought to return to relevance. This year, the defenceman will make $10.6 million as his base salary and a potential signing bonus of $2 million. 

2. David Pastrnak: $13 million

  • Base salary: $8.5 million
  • Signing bonus: $26.5 million
  • Total contract: 8 years, $90 million (through 2031)

David Pastrnak has always been a great player for the Bruins, but his 2022-23 season was one for the ages.

His career-best 61 goals and 113 points made him a catalyst for Boston’s incredible regular season as it broke the league record for wins and standing points. (The less said about the ensuing postseason flameout, the better.) During the season, Pastrnak signed an eight-year contract worth $90 million.

In 2023-24, his base salary will be $8.5 million, and his signing bonus payout is worth $4.5 million. 

1. Nathan MacKinnon: $16.5 million

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  • Base salary: $775,000
  • Signing bonus: $85.3 million
  • Total contract: 8 years, $100.8 million (through 2031)

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft is now the No. 1 highest-paid NHL player.

Nathan MacKinnon has more than lived up to his early hype, making six All-Star games and becoming the leading goalscorer as the Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in 2022. After the season, MacKinnon signed an eight-year, $100.8 million contract extension that gave him the highest annual value in league history.

But the details of his deal are stranger when you look closer. 

MacKinnon’s base salary is only $775,000, but his signing bonus payout is a whopping $15.725 million this year. The only year he will make more than $1 million in base salary is in 2026-27 when he is owed over $9 million. 

All contract info courtesy of Spotrac.