minimum nhl Salary

What Is The NHL Minimum salary? Who is the lowest-paid NHL player?

Many players in the NHL earn close to a million dollars per year in their contracts. Some hockey fans would be eager to find out what the minimum NHL salary is; the players in the NHL receive the lowest pay.

How much does the lowest-paid NHL player make? The least amount a player in the hockey league can make per season is between $750,000 to $700,000. And about 14% of the players in the NHL earn this.

There are many high-earners in the league and others who make a decent amount of money annually. But a big question to answer is; who is the lowest-paid NHL player? along with other stars making the league’s minimum salary. 

Read Also: Who is the highest-paid NHL player?

Who Is The Lowest-Paid NHL Player?

Who are the least-paid players in the NHL paid? The minimum salary for this season is $750,000. It’s the lowest salary that can be given to a player for this season.

However, factors such as experience, draft position, and the player’s role on the team play a role in determining their salary. 

Several players are playing on this minimum salary for the year. They mostly consist of young players on their first standard contract, players signed to a two-way contract so they might not be full-time NHLers, or veterans taking the minimum amount to stick around the game. 

This season, among those getting paid the league minimum, are veterans Zdeno Chara, Jason Spezza, Joe Thornton, and Tyler Bozak. Some promising young players skating on the cheap deal are Zach Whitecloud, Nico Sturm, Morgan Geekie, and Vitek Vanecek.

What is the NHL Minimum Salary 2021/2022?

NHL Minimum salary
Photo credit: Statista

The minimum salary for an NHL player is $750,000 to $700,000. The minimum salary for a player on an entry-level contract is between $925,000 and $850,000.

The numbers were first released in 2011 as part of the collective bargaining agreement between the league and its player’s association.

Injuries and medical conditions can also force a team to place a player on long-term injured reserve, where they still collect their salary but don’t count against the cap.

The salary of the average NHL player, who is paid about $2 million for an 82-game season, has risen significantly over the years.

While the players have seen significant increases in their salaries in recent contracts, a look at the minimum salary shows just how low things are.

In 2011, when it was released as part of its new collective bargaining agreement with the players association, the minimum salary of the NHL was $550,000.

In 2012 it rose to $600,000 and again this year to $650,000—all while major figures like Sidney Crosby ($8.7 million), Jonathan Toews ($11.9 million), and Steven Stamkos ($8.5 million) continue to increase their earnings alongside them. 

The fact that hockey’s minuscule core continues to be hammered by rising costs on other fronts (such as travel) is frustrating for anyone who loves hockey and would love to see more star players come from Canada or Europe and make an impact in North America’s top league.

What Is The Average Salary Of NHL Players

The average salary, however, is $3.5 million, and the highest-paid players make around $12.5 million per year. On the other hand, the lowest earners make about $700 000 per year. 

However, the actual salary of a player per season is different from the average salary they earn.

Actual salary refers to the total amount they receive per year according to their contract. The average salary refers to the median per season for a long-term contract the player signs. 

See More; What Is the Average Salary of NHL players?

Read Also; What does AAV mean in hockey?

The minimum salary of the NHL compared to NBA, NHL, MLB

The minimum salary for the NHL is $700,000. Compared to other professional sports leagues in the United States, this is a pretty high number.

The NBA minimum salary is $898,310, and it’s less than that in other leagues: the MLB minimum is $555,000 while the NFL minimum is $610,000.

Why Do NHL Players Get Paid Less than Other Leagues?

To answer this question, you have to understand how the NHL works. Let’s start with the business aspect of the game. 

Unlike most other sports leagues—the NFL, NBA, and MLB—the NHL does not have a revenue-sharing model. That is, there’s no mechanism for one team’s profits to be shared across the league. 

Instead, it has a hard salary cap system: meaning that each team can only spend a certain amount on players’ salaries (for example, $75 million).

If a team goes over that limit at any point during the season, they are hit with fines called “luxury taxes.” 

The salary cap is also calculated differently in the NHL than in other leagues: instead of taking a percentage of league revenue and dividing it by the number of teams (say 60%), it’s set two years in advance based on projections of hockey-related revenue—a number determined by ticket and merchandise sales as well as TV deals.

The salary cap floor is also different from other sports leagues; if all teams spend up to their allowed amount (in this case $75 million), then each team would only have about $2-3 million dollars left over for things like stadium maintenance costs or player bonuses. 

We have covered more details on why NHL players get paid less in one of our articles below; 

Read Also: Why Do NHL players get paid less than NBA, NFL, and MLB?


Although the minimum NHL salary might not be as high as other sports, the players still get a good amount of money per year– $700k per year is not bad at all! Players sign contracts depending on their experience and other factors.

However, the least paid players could still be a veteran playing in the league for years. 

So, If you were thinking, what is the NHL minimum salary? Or who the lowest-paid NHL players are, I believe you know now. 

Found this post helpful? Please share it with your friends and hockey fans. 

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