With the NHL’s new collective bargaining agreement the $70.2 million salary cap this year will be lowered to $64.3 million next season. Unlike many other sports where salaries have been ballooning over the course of the last decade, it will be likely NHL salaries will actually shrink. Here are this top ten highest paid players this year who are all lucky enough to be cashing out before the new regulations go in place:
Tampa Bay Lightning
Vincent Lecavalier is the captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was the first overall draft choice in 1998 by the Tampa Bay Lightning and currently is the longest tenured player on the team. He won the Stanley Cup with with the Lightning in 2004. EA Sport’s video game NHL 2006 featured Lecavalier on the cover. In the 2007 season he was awarded the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy for leading the NHL in goals scored with 52 in 82 games. Lecavalier is a very active member of his community. In October 2007 he donated $3 million to a new All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. As a result, in his honor, they decided to name it after him.
New Jersey Devils
Ilya Kovalchuk is a left winger and alternate captain of the New Jersey Devils. He was selected as the number one draft choice in 2001 by the Atlanta Thrashers. During the 2001-2002 season with the Trashers he won the Calder Memorial Trophy for rookie-of-the-year. Since then he has been selected as a three-time NHL All-Star and received the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy in 2004 in a three-way tie with Jarome Iginla and Rick Nash. After having spent eight seasons with the Trashers, he was traded to the Devils in 2010 where he signed a 15-year $100 million contract after initially a 17-year $102 million contract was rejected by the league.
Los Angeles Kings
Anze Kopitar, nicknamed “Kopi” by his fans is a alternate captain for the Los Angeles Kings. He was the 11th overall draft pick in the 2005 NHL draft. Kopitar is also the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. He managed to win the Stanley Cup with the Kings during the 2011-2012 season. He led the team in scoring with 76 points, including a career-best 51 assists.
Although still under contract, Marc Savard has not played in a NHL game since January 2011 and it doesn’t like like he will be playing again anytime soon. The 35-year-old center has been diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome and has been struggling to return to the game ever since. Despite being off the ice, he is still an active member of the community and through a number of Tweets has expressed how much he misses the game, wishes to return, and how much he desired to take the ice alongside Jaromir Jagr. On the book, he has officially won a Stanley Cup as his name was included when the Boston Bruins won later in the 2011 season.
Daniel Briere is one of the alternate captains on the Philadelphia Flyers. Prior to playing with the Flyers, Briere also played with the Phoenix Coyotes and the Buffalo Sabres. Briere is a two-time NHL All-Star and was named the All-Star Game MVP in 2007.
Ryan Suter is the son of another amazing hockey player, Bob Suter who was a part of the historic gold medal-winning 1980 United States Olympic hockey team that defeated the Soviet Union. Ryan Suter, living in his family’s tradition, was selected as the alternate captain for the 2010 United States Olympic hockey team that ended up taking silver in Vancouver. Ryan Suter is also the alternate captain or the Minnesota Wild. Before playing with the Wild he spent seven seasons with the Nashville Predators.
Tyler Myers was selected 12th overall in the 2008 NHL Draft. He has several nicknames including “The Big Easy” and “Big Tex” is reference to his imposing size of 6 feet 8 inches and being born in Houston, Texas. Interestingly enough, although he was born in the United States he grew up in Calgary and as a result has opted to play internationally for Canada rather than the United States. He was the 2010 Calder Memorial Trophy winner in 2010.
New York Rangers
Bard Richards is one of the alternate captains for the New York Rangers. Prior to playing with the Rangers he also played with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars. While with the Lightning he won the 2004 Stanley Cup and received the prestigious Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs. When not on the ice he likes to spend his time at his childhood home on Prince Edward Island where he has hosted the Brad Richards PEI Celebrity Golf Classic for the past 6 years.
Sadly enough, Chris Pronger has not played a game since November 2011 due to post-concussion syndrome after three separate major hits. Without a doubt, Pronger is one of the most successful players to have ever played the game. He has appeared in the Stanley Cup finals with three different teams and finally winning one in 2007 with the Anaheim Ducks. He also won the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player for the 1999-2000 season, making him the first defenseman to win the award since Bobby Orr in 1972. He has won two Olympic gold medals at Salt Lake City 2002 and Vancouver 2010 with Team Canada.
Shea Weber is the captain of the Nashville Predators. He was drafted in the second round, 49th overall pick in the 2003 NHL Draft. He has spent his entire career with the Predators. He won a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics while playing for Team Canada. He is a 3-time NHL All-Star and was selected as a starter in 2011 and 2012. He received his NHL record setting contract during the 2012 offseason.
Source of Facts: www.spotrac.com
Featured Image: Flickr by somegeekintn