Let the contract inflation begin! It is apparent that with all these crazy deals that took place this past summer, the market is definitely beginning to inflate. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will cash in big time starting next season, in 2015-2016 making $13.8 million, 2nd in the league behind Shea Weber. The Blackhawks duo is set to make $7.3 million more than they will make this season, definitely a massive pay increase for the two superstar players. P.K. Subban will also join the league's hierarchy in the 2016-2017 season, in which he will cash in a cool $11 million. The young defenseman will be making $7 million this season and the following season, before cashing in the double digits. The inflation this season has caused a big change in the list of highest-paid players. Five players from the 13-14 season who made it into this top 10 have dropped out, this list includes, Marian Hossa who went from 10 to 16th despite still making $7.9 million, Steven Stamkos dropping from 9th to 14th still sitting at $8 million, Zdeno Chara dropping big time from 8th to 30th and dropping $1 million in salary, going from $8 to $7 million and Eric Staal, who went from 5th place last season, to 11th place this season, although, he is still making a massive $9.25 per season. Additionally, Brad Richards, despite making a huge amount due to his buyout from the Rangers, took a big hit in terms of salary per year, going from $9 million last season (7th overall) to 1 million this season, one of the biggest pay cuts in league history. Let us now take a look at this top 10 list for the 2014-2015 season, and see which new 5 players made the list and which 5 players stayed in the top.
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10 Evgeni Malkin, $ 9.5 million
Evgeni Malkin will receive a hefty pay raise in the 14-15 season, going from $7.5 million to a cool $9.5 million, a substantial raise of $2 million. This will lead the young Pens' forward to jump from 15th to 10th place in the 14-15 season. Malkin has just finished completing the terms of his old contract, in which he made $43.5 milllion in 5 years, the contract listed Malkin to make $9 million in the first 4 years and $7.5 million in the final year of the deal. Malkin’s new deal, which begins this season, is worth $76 million for the next 8 years, which means Malkin will receive a cool $9.5 million for the next 8 years.
9 Phil Kessel, $10 million
Phil Kessel will become a very rich man this season, after not even being in the top 50 spots last season, Kessel has made a huge jump to number 4 this season, with the help of his new contract extension with the Leafs. Kessel will go from making a more than modest $5.4 million, to a massive $10 million this season. Kessel ended the terms of his old contract, in where the sniping forward made $27 million in the span of 5 years. His new deal entitles him to make $64 million for the next eight years. Kessel will cash in big time by making $10 million this year, and the same amount for the following season as well. After a flaming start to the season last year, the Leafs hope their $10 million dollar man can expand his flame the entire season this time around, and get his team back into the post season.
8 Claude Giroux, $10 million
Like Kessel last season, Claude Giroux was nowhere to be found in the top 50 paid players, making $5 million in the 13-14 season. Giroux’s old contract was valued at $11.25 million for 3 years, an average of $3.75 million a year. Judging by these numbers, there was no doubt the self-proclaimed best franchise player in the league was in for a huge raise. The Flyers' captain cashed in with a huge deal worth $66.2 million for an 8-year term ($8.275 per). Giroux will cash in the biggest amount this season at $10 mil, and make a cool $9 mil for the following 4 seasons.
7 Pavel Datsyuk, $10 million
Believe it or not, this is the first and only season in his career that Pavel Datsyuk will cash in a huge sum of $10 million, making him amongst the league’s top earners. Last season, Pavel was in the top 30 for league earners, cashing in a very healthy $6.7 million. Datsyuk completed his 7 year, $46.9 million dollar deal, making $6.7 million throughout his 7 year contract. This season, Dasyuk has taken a humble pay raise making $22.5 million in 3 years, an average of $7.5 million a season. The magic man will cash in $10 million this season, $7 million the next, and end with $5.5 million in the 16-17 season. This will most probably be the only time we see him amongst the league’s top earners.
6 Alex Ovechkin, $10 million
Consistency with the dollars has been apparent for the Great 8, once again finding himself in the top 4 amongst the league’s top earners. Ovie is in the midst of enjoying his blockbuster deal, valued at a whopping $124 million in exchange for a 13 year length. Ovie is now heading into year 7 of the deal, in which he is set to make a sum in the double digits till the deal expires, a cool $10 million each year for the next 7 seasons. Previously, Ovie made $9 million in the first half of the contract per season. In other words, Alex will be a rich man for a very long time.
5 Henrik Lundqvist, $11 million
Money to satisfy a king, Lundqvist will cash in big time with a massive new deal worth $59.5 million, in exchange for a 7-year term ($8.5 mil per). This upcoming season, the King will enjoy a substantial raise of almost $6 million, going from last season’s $5.125 million, to this season's $11 million. No goalie even comes close to Henrik, the closest goaltender being the Bruins’ Tuukka Rask, who will make a career high $7.5 million this season. It is apparent judging by the money that Lundqvist will make this year, that the market has inflated in the goalie sector as well.
4 Ryan Suter, $11 million
Ryan Suter will once again enjoy a big pay this year, making another cool $11 million. Last season, Suter finished in the top two, tied with teammate Zach Parise and Sidney Crosby, cashing in $12 million in the 13-14 season. Suter’s earnings will begin to decline because of this contract form, meaning that he will make $11 million this season, $9 million the next 5 years and then, $8 mil, $6 mil, $2 mil, $1 mil and $1 mil the following seasons. Suter is undoubtedly a very rich man, making $98 million for 13 years, after signing as a highly coveted free agent in the 2012-2013 off season. Expect Suter to slide for the next couple of years in the top league earners.
3 Zach Parise, $11 million
Zach Parise inked the exact same deal as his fellow teammate Ryan Suter, 13 years, $98 million. For the last 3 seasons, Parise and Suter have been top leaders on the board, in terms of highest earners in the league. This deal, like Suter's, entitles this to be Parise’s final year making double digit millions, as the Wild's captain will make $9 million in the 15-16 season. Many fans of the league suggest that Parise and Suter were the reason for the massive contract inflation, due to their huge deals in the 2012-2013 off season.
2 Sidney Crosby, $12 million
Sidney Crosby continues to cash in quite nicely from his 12-year, $104.4 million dollar deal ($8.7 mil per). This season, Crosby is set to make $12 million for the second year in a row (Sid will also make $12 million in the 15-16 season). The Crosby deal used to be the breaking point that no other forward should be allowed to cross, but this year, the inflation soared as Blackhawk superstars, Kane and Toews re-wrote the standards by signing their $84 million dollar deal, a value of 10.5 million per season, almost 2 million more than Crosby. Nonetheless, Crosby will still enjoy many more years to come amongst the league’s top earners.
1 Shea Weber, $14 million
This season, the Predators captain will once again be the highest paid player in the NHL. Shea Weber has earned the most money in the league since the 12-13 season, in which he inked his new 14-year deal worth $110 million ($7.857 per). Weber is slated to be once again, the league’s highest paid player next season, until he is finally set to be dethroned in the 2016-2017 season, when his $12 million will be passed by Kane and Toews, who will collect $13.8 million for that season. As is stands now, Weber will make the most money in the league this season and next season, making him the league’s highest earner for the last 4 years.
Other notable mentions: 15) Eric Staal, $9.25 mil 14) Corey Perry, $9 mil 13) Ryan Getzlaf, $8.75 mil 12) Steven Stamkos & Dion Phaneuf , 8 mil 11) Marian Hossa & Rick Nash, $7.9 mil
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