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NHL salaries: How NHL teams spend their money in the Pacific Division

NHL team financial summary in 2017-2018. Their highest paid players, most underpaid players, and future financial health and more!

NHL salaries

This article provides an overview of how each NHL team will be spending their salary during the 2017-2018 season and beyond.

We will also provide a financial snapshot of where each team currently stands financially. Highlights will include every team’s five highest paid players for next season, their individual cap hit and cap hit percentage.

In addition to that, we will briefly discuss some of the most underpaid players and bargain signings on each team.

Finally, we will provide some insight and predictions with regards to what every team’s financial landscape will look like in the near future.

This time around, we will take a look at NHL salaries in the Pacific Division.

*Tables were built based on data taken from www.spotrac.com (as of July 15th, 2017). 

Anaheim Ducks

NHL Salaries Highest Paid Players2017-2018 Cap HitCap Hit Percentage
Corey Perry$8,625,00012.19%
Ryan Getzlaf$8,250,00011.66%
Ryan Kesler$6,875,0009.72%
Hampus Lindholm$5,250,0007.42%
Sami Vatanen$4,875,0006.89%

Financial Overview:

Team Cap Hit 2017-2018:   $70,728,610

Team Cap Space 2017-2018:  $4,271,390

The Anaheim Ducks have over $23 million dollars of their NHL salaries allocated to three of their best forwards in Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Ryan Kesler. Rightfully so, the money was well spent, as the three finished the season leading the team in points last year.

On the backend, their two highest paid defenders next year will be Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen. They are reasonably priced, considering the fact that they are an important part of the defensive core going forward. Both defenders averaged over twenty-one minutes of ice time per night last season. 

Underpaid player or best bargain players:

Best bargains on the team: Rickard Rakell, and Cam Fowler.

Rickard Rakell:

Rakell was the Ducks’ highest goal scorer (33) last season and only comes in at a $3,789,444 cap hit. He is set to make the same amount for four more years and is only 24 years old.

He just entering his prime and should provide Anaheim with a few more 20-30 goal seasons.

Cam Fowler

Fowler led all Ducks defensemen in goals (11), assists (28) and points (39), and average minutes played per game (24:51) last season.  Despite recently signing a contract extension, he is set to make only $4,000,000 next year, which is a huge bargain for the Ducks next season.

Going forward he is set to make $6,500,000 for 8 more years, which in my opinion is still a decent value, for a top pairing defenseman with several more prime years left.

Financial Future

The Ducks have all of their core players signed on reasonable deals for the foreseeable future. Financially, they are in a very healthy state heading into next season and should be considered one of the contenders to come out of the west.

Arizona Coyotes

NHL Salaries Highest Paid Players2017-2018 Cap HitCap Hit Percentage
Derek Stepan$6,500,00012.64%
Oliver Ekman-Larsson$5,500,00010.70%
Alex Goligoski$5,475,00010.65%
Niklas Hjalmarsson$4,100,0007.97%
Jamie McGinn$3,333,3336.48%
Total $24,908,33352.7%

Financial Overview:

Team Cap Hit 2017-2018:   $51,411,942

Team Cap Space 2017-2018: $ 21,090,058

Two of the Arizona Coyotes’ highest paid players were acquired through blockbuster trades this summer.

Both of these players are worth their contracts, as they vastly improve the Arizona Coyotes next year. Derek Stepan is the team’s new number-one center, and Niklas Hjalmarsson is their team’s second best defenseman behind Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

It is also evident that the Coyotes place a high value on defense, as three of their five highest paid players are defensemen.

Underpaid player or best bargain

With a luxury of low-priced, high-end prospects, the Coyotes have many players playing on bargain contracts next year. This is mainly because all of these players are still on their entry-level deals, but this doesn’t mean they won’t have a huge impact on the Coyotes’ success next year.

These players include Max Domi, Christian Dvorak, Clayton Keller, Lawson Crouse, and Jakob Chychrun.

Financial Future

Coyotes’ General Manager John Chayka will have numerous decisions to make regarding his team’s financial future after this coming season. A lot of his youth will need new contract extensions.

Which players will receive a big raise and a long-term contract? Which players will be traded? This all remains to be seen.

Calgary Flames

NHL Salaries Highest Paid Players2017-2018 Cap HitCap Hit Percentage
Johnny Gaudreau$6,750,00010.19%
Mark Giordano$6,750,00010.19%
Sean Monahan$6,375,0009.63%
Dougie Hamilton$5,750,0008.68%
T.J. Brodie$4,650,0007.02%
Total $30,275,00045.7%

Financial Overview:

Team Cap Hit 2017-2018:   $66,223,810

Team Cap Space 2017-2018: $ 8,116,190

The Calgary Flames are managing quite well financially. They are paying their most important players in Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, and T.J Brodie the most amount of money. But no one on the list is massively overpaid compared to other teams in the league.

With all of them in their prime or just entering it, they are on the brink of being a very good team in the next few years. 

However, Mark Giordano is 33 years old and might be on the decline soon. So his $6,750,000 cap-hit for five more seasons, may be a concern for the Flames in a few years.

Underpaid player or best bargain

Travis Hamonic: Travis Hamonic is by far the best bargain on the current Calgary Flames’ roster. He is only making $3,857,143 annually, for three more years.

He is right in his prime at 26 years old and is a legitimate right-handed shutdown defenseman who can play top-two minutes. Calgary did pay a hefty price to acquire him, but based on the value of his contract it was well worth it. He is probably one of the most underpaid players in the NHL.

Financial Future

The Flames have their most important players in Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan locked up on reasonable deals for the long-term. They also have a strong defensive core in Dougie Hamilton, T.J Brodie, Mark Giordano, and Travis Hamonic, all on cap friendly contracts going forward.

Sam Bennett is still working on a contract extension. It will be interesting to see what salary range he falls in. But given his performance in his early career, he likely won’t be getting the same amount of money as teammates Johnny Gaudreau, and Sean Monahan.

Edmonton Oilers

NHL Salaries Highest Paid Players2017-2018 Cap HitCap Hit Percentage
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins$6,000,00010.64%
Milan Lucic$6,000,00010.64%
Andrej Sekera$5,500,0009.75%
Oscar Klefbom$4,167,0007.39%
Adam Larsson$4,166,6667.38%
Total $25,833,66645.8%

Financial Overview:

Team Cap Hit 2017-2018:  $ 56,396,998

Team Cap Space 2017-2018: $13,278,002

Going into next season, the Edmonton Oilers highest paid players will be Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Milan Lucic.

For Lucic, the amount being paid is arguably fair. Given that, he brings several intangibles including his toughness, veteran leadership, and a winning mentality and has basically changed the identity of the team.

On the other hand, the Oilers probably expected a little more from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who only got 43 points in 82 games last year.

Underpaid player or best bargain

Obviously, the best bargain for the Oilers next year will be Connor McDavid still on his entry-level deal next season.

Aside from that, the best long-term bargains on the team are probably Oscar Klefbom and Adam Larsson. They are the team’s two best defensemen, both under 25 and are only a combined annual cap-hit of $8,333,667 for four more years!

I can’t think of another NHL team that pays their top-two defenseman the same amount of money.

Financial Future

The last three years of Lucic’s contract might hurt the Oilers, as his foot-speed might be a big issue.

Once, McDavid and Draisatil’s contracts kick in, Nugent-Hopkins will likely have to be moved out. The Oilers will need room to extend other young players like Darnell Nurse, Matt Benning, and Jesse Puljujarvi. 

Los Angeles Kings

NHL Salaries Highest Paid Players2017-2018 Cap HitCap Hit Percentage
Anze Kopitar$10,000,00014.62%
Drew Doughty$7,000,00010.23%
Dustin Brown$5,875,0008.59%
Jonathan Quick$5,800,0008.48%
Jeff Carter$5,272,7277.71%
Total $33,947,72749.6%

Financial Overview:

Team Cap Hit 2017-2018:  $68,418,560

Team Cap Space 2017-2018: $6,581,440

The Los Angeles Kings has been in cap trouble for the last couple of years. Out of their highest paid players, the one contract that sticks out the most is Dustin Brown’s.

The former Kings’ captain’s game has been on the decline for the past couple of years, and his $5,875,000 annual cap-hit, for five more years will limit the Kings flexibility to wheel-and-deal. In addition to that, the Kings are also paying 35 year-old Marion Gaborik, $4,875,000 annually, for four more years.

It’s contracts like these that have given the Kings trouble and taken them out of contention conversations in the west.

Underpaid player or best bargain

Overall, it doesn’t look like the Kings have any player on their roster that is vastly underpaid or a good bargain.

If I had to pick one it might be Tyler Toffoli, who currently has an AAV of $4,600,000 for three-more years. He looks to have several more 20-30 goals seasons in him, and I’m sure a lot of teams around the NHL would be willing to pay him a lot more than what he is making.

Financial Future

Going forward, the Kings will continue to deal with cap issues, and will probably have a hard time putting together a competitive team.

It will be interesting to see if Drew Doughty re-signs with the Kings, as his contract expires in two years. Johnathan Quick’s contract might be a concern down the road, as he has an AAV of $5,800,000 and will be 36-years-old when his contract expires.

San Jose Sharks

NHL Salaries Highest Paid Players2017-2018 Cap HitCap Hit Percentage
Joe Thornton$8,000,00012.15%
Brent Burns$8,000,00012.15%
Logan Couture$6,000,0009.11%
Joe Pavelski$6,000,0009.11%
Paul Martin$4,850,0007.36%
Total $32,850,00049.9%

Financial Overview:

Team Cap Hit 2017-2018:  $65,855,000

Team Cap Space 2017-2018: $8,909,500

The San Jose Sharks cup window is closing, and they had no choice but to bring Joe Thornton back this summer to give their team another shot at a title.

Joe Thornton is still an effective player, but $8,000,000 was probably a bit of an overpay to keep him in the Bay Area.

The Sharks still have cap space left, from Marleau not re-signing. But if the Sharks want to keep their slim championship aspirations alive, they might use their cap space to overpay and fill the hole, left open by Marleau.

Underpaid player or best bargain

Melker Karlsson: Karlsson recently signed a three-year contract extension worth $6 million. He has a $2 million cap-hit annually, for three more years. He is only 26-years old, and the Sharks have him for his best prime years.

If he continues to improve, he can work his way into a solid top-nine role and will become a bargain at $2 million dollars.

Financial Future

The Sharks’ roster can look significantly different in the next couple years. After they completely move on from Thornton, they will have even more cap space to get younger and faster.

With only Brent Burns, Martin Jones, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic signed long term; it will be interesting to see if they will extend Logan Couture. At the same time, it remains to be seen if Joe Pavelski will be brought back, or if he is playing out his final contract in a Sharks uniform.

Vancouver Canucks

NHL Salaries Highest Paid Players2017-2018 Cap HitCap Hit Percentage
Henrik Sedin$7,000,00010.62%
Daniel Sedin$7,000,00010.62%
Loui Eriksson$6,000,0009.10%
Alexander Edler$5,000,0007.59%
Chris Tanev$4,450,0006.75%
Total $29,450,00044.7%

Financial Overview:

Team Cap Hit 2017-2018:  $65,912,499

Team Cap Space 2017-2018: $9,087,501

Simply put, the Vancouver Canucks current rebuild is hindered by the massive cap-hit of aging veterans, most notably with the contracts of Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, and Alex Edler.

Out of their highest paid players, Loui Eriksson’s contract will be the hardest to move. He is signed for six more years, with a cap hit of $6,000,000, but it doesn’t make sense to keep such an expensive player in his thirties as the team is clearly rebuilding.

Chris Tanev is also likely to be moved, as his current contract is very affordable and the Canucks can probably obtain plenty of assets for him. It doesn’t make sense to keep a defenseman in his prime during this rebuild.

Underpaid player or best bargain

Right now there isn’t really any bargain or underpaid players on the Canucks’ roster.

If anything, Brandon Sutter might be the closest thing. He is a $4,375,000 cap hit, for four more years. He is a very reliable third-line center, who also has the ability to play in the number-one center spot.

Financial Future

After next year, when the Sedins are off the books, the Canucks can officially begin their full rebuild.

Bo Horvat is currently a restricted free agent, but expect him to sign long term with the Canucks soon, and become the team’s the highest paid player in the future.

Vegas Golden Knights

NHL Salaries Highest Paid Players2017-2018 Cap HitCap Hit Percentage
Marc-Andre Fleury$5,750,0008.81%
Mikhail Grabovski$5,000,0007.66%
James Neal$5,000,0007.66%
Reilly Smith$5,000,0007.66%
Jason Garrison$4,600,0007.05
Total $25,350,00038.84%

Financial Overview:

Team Cap Hit 2017-2018:  $69,925,832

Team Cap Space 2017-2018: $5,074,168

The Vegas Golden Knights took a lot of salary and bad contracts from other NHL teams during the expansion draft. But in return, they got a stockpile of assets for the future.

Overall, they shouldn’t have any salary cap issues in the next few years. Without Stanley Cup aspirations, they have the luxury to move out more players for future assets.

Underpaid player or best bargain

Jonathan Marchessault: Marchessault is my pick for the best bargain on the Golden Knights. He is coming off a career year with 30 goals, and 51 points and is set to make only $750,000 next year!

He will be a big part of the Golden Knights offense next year. Even if his play regresses a bit, he is still a bargain, and any team would love to pay a 15-20 goal scorer $750,000 per season.

We should keep a close eye on what Vegas plans to do with him next year. Will they extend him long-term or move him to a team that needs scoring next April?

Financial Future

Overall, Vegas should be one of the NHL salaries healthiest financial teams next season. They have a lot of youth coming in on entry-level deals and have the leverage of taking on more bad contracts for future assets.


What do you think of these NHL salaries analyses? Do you agree or disagree? Let us know in the comment section below.



  1. In your opinion, which team is spending their money most efficiently?

    1. Anaheim Ducks
    2. Arizona Coyotes
    3. Calgary Flames
    4. Edmonton Oilers
    5. Los Angeles Kings
    6. San Jose Sharks
    7. Vancouver Canucks
    8. Vegas Golden Knights
    114 votes
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CP Ching

Avid sports fan from Hong Kong, holding University degrees unrelated to sports and journalism. Like everyone, I have many passions, and they include writing about the NHL and the NBA ? 

  • Joe Georgio

    Draisaitl’s ELC actually expired on July 1st. He’ll be paid considerably more next year.

    • CP

      Thanks Joe for pointing that out. Mistake has been fixed, appreciate it.

NHL salaries: How NHL teams spend their money in the Pacific Division

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