Hockey players might not receive the same multi-million dollar contracts as their NBA, NFL, and MLB peers, but do not discount their insane net worths. Take a look at the wealthiest NHL players on the planet.
Joe Sakic – $60 Million
Even amidst a franchise relocation, Joe Sakic and his devastating wrist shot became one of the best forwards in the league. By signing a three year, $21 million offer sheet which the Avalanche matched in 1997, Sakic prompted a rise in players’ salaries.
Jaromir Jagr – $40 Million
Throughout the 90s, Jaromir Jagr was one of the most dominant hockey players in the world. Miraculously, he is still playing at age 45 while some NHL players were born after he won the Hart Trophy in 1999. The Czech player has broken numerous scoring records, including game winning goals. In 2001, he left the Penguins to sign the then-largest contract in NHL history ($77 million over seven years). We hope that Jagr continues playing till the end of time.
Martin St. Louis – $40 Million
Just because Martin St. Louis was a stand-up guy (a three time Lady Byng winner) does not mean that he could not hang with these titans of the ice. It had taken a few years before he came into his own, but by age 28 he was a Hart and Ross Trophy winner. That same year, he led the Tampa Bay Lightning to his only Stanley Cup win. His $31.5 million extension in 2005 made him one of the highest paid players at the time.
Joe Thornton – $60 Million
Centers do not generally grow to be the size of Jumbo Joe Thornton. At 6-foot-4, Joe used his height to see the ice and beautifully deliver the puck. In the 2005-2006 season, Thornton was traded from the Bruins to the Sharks after 23 games only to secure the Hart Trophy and Ross Trophy at the end of the year. Since the trade, he has maintained his solid play into his 12th season with the Sharks and 19th overall.
Paul Kariya – $55 Million
Early in his career, Paul Kariya drew comparisons to The Great One for his playmaking abilities. With great passing vision and puck handling, he made the game look easy. Playing most of his career with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Kariya earned significant contracts for his success, peaking with a three year, $33 million deal in 1999. Movie fans might recognize him from his small cameo in D3: The Mighty Ducks. He retired in 2011 at the recommendation of his doctor following a concussion.
Alexander Ovechkin – $60 Million
No matter how you feel about Alex Ovechkin, his scoring ability is undeniable. He has led the league in goals (Richard Trophy) in half of his twelve seasons. In the final year of his rookie deal, Ovechkin showed his loyalty to the Washington Capitals by signing a 13 year, $124 million contract extension which pays him an average of $9.5 million per year. That year, he won his first of three Hart Trophies for MVP, solidifying him as part of the NHL elite.
Chris Drury – $44 Million
Chris Drury bounced around the NHL from Colorado to Calgary and Buffalo to New York, but it did not take away from his production or his salary. If anything it made him more wealthy. Drury left Buffalo in 2007 for the Rangers for a $32.25 million deal, becoming team captain in 2008. Outside of the NHL, Drury helped the United States win two Olympic silver medals. After he had retired, he joined the Rangers front office and is now their assistant general manager.
Rob Blake – $60 Million
As a defenseman, Rob Blake did not need gaudy scoring numbers to make it into the Hall of Fame. The current general manager of the Los Angeles Kings started his career with the team in 1988, bringing them to the brink of a championship in 1993. A Norris Trophy winner in that same year, Blake was traded to the Avalanche after 11 seasons, winning his only Stanley Cup in Colorado. He came back to LA on an excellent two year, $12 million deal five years later.
Brian Rafalski – $45 Million
The New Jersey Devils of the early 2000s never backed down from a challenge. With Rafalski and Scott Stevens holding down the back line, the Devils went on to win two Stanley Cups. Rafalski would eventually follow the money away from the Meadowlands and to Detroit. He signed a five year, $30 million deal as a free agent with the Red Wings, a decade after no NHL would take a chance on him. He won two silver medals with the US Olympic team.
Daniel Alfredsson – $51 Million
Swedish-Canadian right winger Daniel Alfredsson led the Ottawa Senators through 17 of his 18 NHL seasons. He served as the team captain for 14 of those years due to his ability to lead by example. In 2008, the Senators rewarded their all time leading scorer with a four year, $21.6 million deal to have him retire with the team. After the lockout shortened season, Alfredsson signed a $5.5 million contract with the Red Wings to close out his stellar career.
Alexei Yashin – $42 Million
Money seemed always to put Alexei Yashin in a dispute with his employers. At the start of his career, Yashin, who deferred coming to the NHL for a year, felt he deserved to be paid more than fellow rookie Alexandre Daigle. A few years later he demanded a raise from his $3.6 million contract and sat out the 1999-2000 season when he refused to report to the team. Eventually, Yashin was traded to the Islanders, and his new ten year, $87.5 million deal became virtually untradeable as his production dropped.
Kimmo Timonen – $44 Million
Through 16 seasons and over 1,100 games, Kimmo Timonen established himself as one of the best defensemen in hockey. For the majority of his career, Timonen’s value to his teams stemmed from his stout defense and an ability to stay on the ice. In 2008, he was diagnosed with a blood clot, an issue that would plague him later in his career. Timonen became the highest paid Finnish player ever in 2007 by signing a six year $37.8 million extension after a trade to the Philadelphia Flyers.
Roberto Luongo – $46 Million
Don’t let Roberto Luongo’s slow starts distract you from his true ability as a goaltender. Outside of his rookie year with the Islanders, Luongo has spent his entire career with the Panthers and Canucks. His first stint with the Panthers ended with Luongo turning down a five year $30 million deal for a four year $27 million deal with the Canucks in 2006. After making the All Star Game four years in a row, Luongo signed a $64 Million 12 year extension in 2010.
Marian Gaborik – $47 Million
As the third pick in the 2000 NHL draft, Marian Gaborik became the highest drafted Slovak ever. He did not let his people down, becoming the Wild’s all time leading goal scorer before signing as a free agent with the New York Rangers in 2009. That deal would land him $37.5 million over five years, but he would be traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets a few years later. He won his first Stanley Cup as an L.A. King in 2014.
Vincent Lecavalier – $45 Million
With Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis by his side, Lecavalier led a potent Tampa Bay Lightning offense to the Stanley Cup in 2004. The win came three years after he had his captainship stripped from him. The year after breaking the Lightning’s single season points record, Lecavalier signed an eleven year $85 million extension while earning the “C’ on his chest. He would not regain his past success, eventually signing with the Flyers for $22.5 million over five years before retiring in 2016 with the Kings in 2016.
Nicklas Lidstrom – $60 Million
Seven Norris Trophies, one Conn Smythe Trophy, and 20 straight years of making the playoffs put Nicklas Lidstrom in any conversation for greatest defenseman ever. Only two other players have ever won the Norris Trophy (best defenseman) more than Lidstrom. He never made more than $7.6 million in a season but rewarded the Red Wings with four Stanley Cups, a record 1,564 games with one team, and an incredible durability into his 40s. He became the oldest Norris Trophy winner at age 41.
Dan Boyle – $42 Million
Dan Boyle always played with a chip on his shoulder after going undrafted following four years at Miami University. A trade to the Lightning in 2003 opened the door for the defenseman to win his first and only Stanley Cup. A freak injury cut his 2007 season short, but he would be rewarded following his recovery with a six year $40 million extension to see himself traded to San Jose just a few months later. Boyle retired in 2016 after two years with the Rangers.
Zdeno Chara – $50 Million
At six-foot-nine, Zdeno Chara is the tallest player to ever play in the National Hockey League. While height on skates might be difficult for some, Chara has excelled as a defenseman, currently holding the captain’s C for the Boston Bruins. Since coming to the Bruins in 2006 on a five year, $37.5 million contract, he has helped them win the Stanley Cup in 2011, taken home the Norris trophy, and was named to the first All Star Team twice.
Patrick Marleau – $46 Million
Three-time All Star Patrick Marleau gave the San Jose Sharks 17 years of consistent and top level play at the forward position before signing with the Maple Leafs. The Sharks rewarded him with contracts increasing in value throughout his career, starting around $4 million per year, and peaking with a four year $27.6 million deal in 2010. He is the Sharks all time leader in points, goals, and games played. In 2016, he became the youngest player to play in 1,400 games.
Brad Richards – $58 Million
Brad Richards was a two time Stanley Cup winner before his 2016 retirement. He won the Conn Smyth Trophy in 2004 with the Lightning before signing a five year $39 million deal. Tampa Bay wouldn’t hold on to him for the entire deal, trading him to Dallas in 2008. Richards would reunite with coach John Tortorella in New York after signing a nine year $60 million deal with the Rangers in 2010, eventually losing in the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals with ex-teammate Martin St. Louis.
Sergei Gonchar – $44 Million
Currently working for his old team the Pittsburgh Penguins as an assistant coach, Sergei Gonchar concluded a 20-year career in 2015. The defenseman notched a career high 67 points in 2002-03 on his way to his second Second All-Star Team. After the 04-05 lockout, Gonchar signed a four year $25 million deal with the Penguins. He’d leave the team in 2010 to sign his largest contract, a three year $16 million agreement with the Senators. From 2000 to 2004 no defenseman registered more points than Gonchar.
Chris Pronger – $65 Million
Before concussions ended his career, Chris Pronger was a dominant two-way defenseman. In 1999-2000, Pronger became the first defensive player to win the Hart Trophy since Bobby Orr in 1972. He is part of a select group of hockey players in the Triple Gold Club for players who have won a World Championship gold medal, an Olympic gold medal, and the Stanley Cup. Pronger was labeled a dirty player during his day, receiving eight suspensions for a total of 22 games.
Scott Gomez – $50 Million
Scott Gomez had plenty of time to prepare for the NHL while growing up in snowy Alaska. Gomez got off to a nice start, taking home the Calder Cup on his way to the Stanley Cup with the Devils. In 2007, the cross-tunnel rival Rangers gave Gomez an offer he could not refuse – $51.5 million over seven years. Two years later, the Rangers would ship him to Montreal just before his production began to drop. He retired after the 2015-16 season.
Roman Hamrlik – $46 Million
Nicknamed the Hammer for his vicious hits (and a play on his name), Roman Hamrlik relished in his role as an offensive minded defenseman. On the power play, he frequently quarterbacked the possession. In 1995-96, he registered 65 points, an impressive feat for a defenseman and his career high. After a few smaller contracts, Hamrlik received his first big payday after signing a $22 million, four year deal with the Canadiens. At the 1998 Olympics, he helped the Czech Republic take home the gold.
Peter Forsberg – $54 Million
Every team wishes they had a Peter Forsberg at center. He had the ability to mix playmaking and power on his way to 13 stellar NHL seasons in which he won the Hart Trophy and Ross Trophy. Along with Joe Sakic, Forsberg guided the Colorado Avalanche to two Stanley Cups. Sadly, he could never stay on the ice and was tagged as “injury prone,” refusing to change his game as he got older. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014.
Wade Redden – $45 Million
Two-time All Star Wade Redden might not have a padded resume like his peers, but he was reliable enough to be worth $45 million from his NHL days. In 2008, the Rangers swiped Redden from the Senators with a six year, $39 million offer. His play had begun to decline, and even though he would have taken a “hometown discount,” the Senators let him walk. He was the highest paid player on the team, but his play did not justify his salary.
Patrik Elias – $50 Million
Winger Patrik Elias was a fan favorite across his 17 seasons with the New Jersey Devils for a good reason. He ended his career as their leader in goals, assists, points, and most points in a season. He signed his biggest deal in 2006 for seven years $42 million. Elias broke the club record for points in the same game his teammate Martin Brodeur broke the all-time wins record held by legend Patrick Roy. It was truly a night to remember for Devils and NHL fans.
Ed Jovanovski – $53 Million
17 years of two-way hockey put Ed Jovanovski in a very nice place financially. In 2006, Jovanovski left the Canucks to play for Wayne Gretzky and the Coyotes. He signed a five year $32.5 million deal, spurring a chance to return to Florida, which is where he started his career. Panther fans would get the chance to see him back in Florida when he signed a four year $16.5 million deal to finish his career as a Panther and help them rebuild.
Alexei Kovalev – $43 Million
Alexei Kovalev had a knack for faking defenders out of their skates with his dekes, and a knack for being traded to teams he had already played for (he played for the Rangers and Penguins on two occasions each). Drafted by the Rangers in 1991, he began his 18-year career by becoming the first Russian drafted in the first round, and one of the first Russians with his name on the Stanley Cup following New York’s 1994 win.
Keith Tkachuk – $50 Million
Keith Tkachuk used his size and aggressive style to become one of only five American-born players with over 500 goals. Throughout his 19 year career, Tkachuk was known for his goal scoring ability and his tendency to sit in the penalty box, with three 200 penalty minute seasons. He became the only American to lead the NHL in goals with a 52 in 1996-97. He retired from the game in 2010 after completing a two year, $16 million deal with his former team, the St. Louis Blues.
Jason Spezza – $43 Million
It has been some time since Jason Spezza put up his 90 point seasons, but he remains a useful player for the Dallas Stars. The Stars traded for Spezza in 2014 after he requested to leave his longtime team, the Ottawa Senators. Before he moved across the border, Spezza was a star in Ottawa. He set a team record assists in a season with 71 in 2005-2006 to go along with 19 goals and his first 90 point season.
Jarome Iginla – $60 Million
His 20 year career is still not over, which means Jarome Iginla can continue adding to his wealth. As one of the premier goal scorers during his prime, only Jaromir Jagr scored more goals between 1998 and 2008. He was not the fastest, but Iginla used a combination of strength and finesse to dominate. Iginla commanded the respect of everyone around him, standing up to opposing players and tossing the gloves aside when necessary. He hopes to capture his first Cup in 2017-18.
Bill Guerin – $42 Million
Bill Guerin might not have stuck around with one team for long during his 18-year career, but teams were very keen in retaining the right winger. He only missed the playoffs seven times in his career, winning two Stanley Cups as a player (and two more as an executive). After retiring from the Penguins in 2010, he joined their front office as a coach, and eventually was promoted to assistant general manager. Guerin is the NHL’s first player of Hispanic heritage.
Pavel Bure – $70 Million
If you looked at his draft position, you would expect Pavel Bure’s career to play out differently. With his exceptional speed paired with his skillful puck possession, Bure was capable of going end to end in a flash. The Canucks paid $250,000 to bring him to the NHL from Russia. Not long after, Bure would become the third highest paid player in the league behind Gretzky, and Lemieux, setting Canucks team scoring records along the way.
Martin Brodeur – $55 Million
Widely considered one the greatest netminders of all time, Martin Brodeur literally changed the way the NHL officiates goalies. The four time Vezina Trophy winner was so good with his stick outside of the crease that the league created the “Brodeur Rule” restricting goalies puck handling behind the net. He retired as the all-time leading goalie in wins, losses, assists, shutouts and many other categories. Brodeur’s 21-year career was highlighted by three Stanley Cup wins and two gold medals.
Mark Messier – $55 Million
Although he helped the Edmonton Oilers win five Stanley Cups, Mark Messier will forever be known as the man who brought the Lord Stanley’s Cup back to Madison Square Garden and the New York Rangers after a 54-year drought. The Messiah, a two time Hart trophy winner, left New York in 1997 after president Dave Checketts did not think he was worth $20 million over three years. He would return to the Rangers in 2000, retiring with the club four years later.
Sidney Crosby – $55 Million
Coming into the league in 2005, Sidney Crosby had sky high expectations. The Penguins won the Sidney Crosby Sweepstakes and have not looked back since. In only his second season he became the first teenager to win the scoring title in any major sports league in North America while taking home his first Hart Trophy (MVP). As one of the NHL premiere players, Crosby not only has won three championships but has earned a killing in endorsements too.
Mario Lemieux – $150 Million
Super Mario played all seventeen of his NHL seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Hodgkin’s lymphoma forced him away from the game in 1997 after 12 stellar seasons. Lemieux was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997 and became the owner of the Penguins in 1999. In a strange twist, Lemieux returned to the team in 2000 as a player-owner. The Penguins have won three Stanley Cups with Lemieux as their owner, in addition to the two he won as a player.
Mike Modano – $50 Million
As the highest scoring American born NHL player ever, Mike Modano certainly made his imprint on the game. Starting his career with the North Stars before their move to Dallas, Modano was the last NHL player to don a North Stars jersey at the time of his retirement in 2011. He is considered an influential figure in making hockey popular in Texas and the southern US. A Stanley Cup champ in 1999, he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014.
Wayne Gretzky – $200 Million
It should be no surprise that “The Great One” is the wealthiest hockey player. During his twenty year career, Gretzky shattered NHL scoring records, retiring as the career leader in goals, assists, points, goals created, shorthanded goals, and hat tricks. He was awarded the Hart Trophy for MVP nine times. Forbes estimated that he earned $95 million during his career and had doubled his worth in retirement. He is an active investor and once sold a Honus Wagner baseball card for $451,000 (now worth almost $3 million).