NHL Salary Structure
Here are the details of the current National Hockey League collective bargaining agreement, compiled by Lance Hornby of the QMI agency:
Rookie Salary Cap: Entry level players, aged 18 to 21, get a base contract of $925,000, a number that began at $850,000 at the dawn of this CBA in 2005, in addition to signing and games-played bonuses.
Standard Player Contract: Guaranteed; however, some players have two-way contracts that pay less if they’re sent to the minors and more if they’re with the NHL club. A player’s annual salary must not top 20% of that year’s salary cap.
Buyouts & Bonuses: Players can be bought out for either one-third or two-thirds of their salary, though age is a factor. The buyout money is then paid to the player over twice the length of the original contract, while he’s free to sign elsewhere. Some of the departed player’s salary goes against the cap. Performance bonuses apply only to entry-level contracts, those signing one-year contracts after returning from long-term injuries, and veteran players on one-year deals after age 35.
Minimum Salary: $525,000
Average Salary: $2.4 million
Career Earnings: On current projections for average career length, a player could get between $12 million and $13 million.
Salary Cap: Keeps going up as revenues climb, almost $31 million since 2005, to a projected $70.2 million if this season were played under the old CBA. The trouble is that small-market teams have difficulty reaching the cap floor, projected at $54.3 million.
Playes Share of Revenues: Now at 57% in the players’ favor, but they’ll have to accept below 50% to satisfy owners in next round.