AVALANCHE

MacKinnon will be NHL’s highest-paid player, here’s how the top 10 rank

Sep 20, 2022, 11:05 PM | Updated: Sep 21, 2022, 6:38 am
Nathan MacKinnon, Connor McDavid...
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Nathan MacKinnon signed a massive eight-year contract extension totaling $100.8 million, the Colorado Avalanche announced on Tuesday.

For now, MacKinnon will be one of the most underpaid players, with a cap hit of $6.85 million for this coming season. But when the new money does hit in 2023, MacKinnon will be the highest-paid player in the NHL. His $12.6 million average salary comes in just above Connor McDavid at $12.5 million.

The two faced off in this past season’s Western Conference Final, as the Avs swept the Oilers. McDavid scored seven points in the four games, while MacKinnon had five in the series.

Here’s the current list of the NHL’s highest-paid players sorted by AAV (average annual value,) career stats and current contract for each player:

1. Connor McDavid, Oilers: $12.5 million

McDavid is entering his fifth season on an eight-year $100 million deal. He has won the Hart Trophy twice as NHL MVP. In four separate seasons, he has led the NHL in points.

McDavid has played seven seasons, appearing in 487, getting 458 assists and scoring 239 goals.

2. Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche, $11.96 million

MacKinnon’s total contract number is for nine years, totaling $107.65 million. He’ll be the highest-paid player in 2023-24 as long as nobody tops $12.6 million in the next 12 months. But for now, his team friendly deal brings his AAV down for one season.

MacKinnon has played nine seasons, appearing in 638 games, getting 406 assists and scoring 242 goals.

3. Artemi Panarin, Rangers: $11.642 million

Panarin is entering the fourth year of a seven-year deal for $81.500 million. Signing as a free agent after stints in Chicago and Columbus,

Panarin has played seven years, appearing in 508 games, getting 382 assists and scoring 187 goals.

4. Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs: $11.64 million

The American forward is entering the penultimate season of a five-year, $58.2 million deal. A top draft pick, the Leaf, was named NHL MVP this past season.

Matthews has played six seasons, appearing in 407 games, tallying 259 assists and scoring 198 goals.

5. Erik Karlsson, Sharks: $11.5 million

The defenseman is in the fourth season of an eight-year, $92 million deal. The former Senator came over to San Jose in a big trade. In his prime, he was similar to the still young Cale Makar.

Karlsson has played nine seasons, appearing in 627 games, tallying 392 assists and scoring 126 goals.

T6. Drew Doughty, Kings: $11 million

A former Norris winner and four-time All-Star, the two-time Cup Champion is entering the fourth season on an eight-year, $88 million deal. The least productive player on this list scoring-wise, Doughty was a rock-solid defensive player in his prime.

Doughty has played 14 seasons, appearing in 1014 games, tallying 435 assists and scoring 126 goals.

T6. John Tavares, Maple Leafs: $11 million

Another free agent signee, the former Islander, is about to be on the fifth year of a seven-year, $77 million deal. A former All-Star, he’s the second Maple Leaf on this list.

Tavares has played 13 seasons, appearing in 949 games, tallying 504 assists and scoring 391 goals.

8. Mitch Marner, Maple Leafs: $10.903 million

The fourth Leaf on this list, Marner, will be in the fourth season of a six-year, $65 million deal. The two-time All-Star is still 25-years-old.

Marner has played 6 seasons, appearing in 427 games, tallying 317 assists and scoring 138 goals.

T9. Patrick Kane, Blackhawks: $10.5 million // T9. Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks: $10.5 million

Signed to identical eight-year, $84 million deals, the two Blackhawks stars are on the final season of their contract. Each led Chicago to three Stanley Cups last decade and are sure-fire Hockey Hall of Famers.

Each debuted 15 seasons ago in 2007-08, with Kane playing 1107 games, tallying 750 assists, and scoring 430 goals. While Toews has played 1014 games, tallied 497 assists and scored 353 goals.


Matthews is the next most-likely mega-contract and could top MacK’s number, but he is not a free agent until the summer of 2024, meaning the Avs’ star will be the highest-paid player in the NHL for some time. Along with Matthews’ stellar play, the cap is expected to rise by then, meaning the contract any team could dish out will be bigger. By 2026 when Marner, Leon Draisaitl and McDavid all get new contracts, MacKinnon’s contract could look team-friendly once again.

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MacKinnon will be NHL’s highest-paid player, here’s how the top 10 rank