NHL Lockout: 8 Players with Big Contracts Who Should Be Worried

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent ISeptember 13, 2012

NHL Lockout: 8 Players with Big Contracts Who Should Be Worried

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    NHL players may not receive their full salaries this year because a lockout could wipe out some, or all of the 2012-13 season

    Players do not get paid in a lockout, and for players with large contracts, this could be trouble.

    There are some exceptions, however. Salary bonuses will be paid, so Shea Weber will still make $13 million this season, even if he doesn't play a game for the Nashville Predators. Players who are hurt will also be paid until they are fully healthy again.

    For veterans, or any player with a large salary that doesn't include huge bonuses, missing paycheck after paycheck will become frustrating at some point.

    Let's look at eight players with big contracts who should be worried over a lockout.

    Note: All salary information courtesy of Capgeek.com

Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils

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    New Jersey Devils star winger Ilya Kovalchuk could earn a paycheck in the KHL this season if there's a long lockout, but to lose some, or most of his $11 million salary from the Devils would hurt.

    Kovalchuk is entering the part of his 15-year deal that pays him the most salary, so this isn't the time he wants to be losing this kind of money.

    He did make a combined $12 million the last two seasons, so he should be better off than most players that are worried about losing a lot of salary.

Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier is one of the many high-priced forwards on the team that would lose a good amount of money during an NHL lockout.

    His salary for next season is $10 million, with no salary bonus.

    The good news for Lecavalier is that if he loses a lot of salary this year, he will still earn $10 million for the next three seasons before his salary decreases to $8 million, then down to $1 million by the end of the contract.

Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Ovechkin

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    Both Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Ovechkin can probably afford to lose some of their NHL salary because the KHL is a likely destination for them during any kind of work stoppage, but losing some, or all of $9 million is still a lot of money for both guys.

    According to TSN's Darren Dreger, Malkin could be KHL bound very soon.

    If, as most expect, there is a lockout annnounced Saturday. Expect Malkin and Gonchar to be ready to play in Magnitigorsk on Sunday.

    — Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) September 12, 2012

Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes

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    Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal could lose a portion of his $8.5 million salary this season if there's a lockout.

    This is the highest salary figure thus far in the seven-year, $57.75 million deal he signed in Sept. 2008.

    Staal will make more than $9 million in each of the the next three years of the deal, and has made $21.25 million in the last three years of his contract.

    He has no salary bonus owed to him in this contract.

Mike Richards, Los Angeles Kings

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    This is the worst possible season for Mike Richards to lose some of his salary. 

    The $8.4 million he is set to make this season is the highest one-year salary total of his 12-year, $69 million deal that started in the 2008-09 season.

    Richards' annual salary will decrease in each year going forward until the last two seasons, when he makes $3 million per year.

Jason Spezza, Ottawa Senators

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    Ottawa Senators forward Jason Spezza has earned $8 million per season for the last four years, but the 2012-13 season is the last year in his current contract that he will earn that salary.

    Starting next season, Spezza's salary goes down to $5 million. In the year after that, which is also the final one of his seven-year, $49 million contact, the salary decreases to $4 million.

Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks

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    After making $8 million in each of the last two seasons, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith will earn that same amount this year, but $1.5 million of it will be paid to him as a salary bonus.

    So Keith could lose up to $6.5 million if there's a lockout.

    Next season is the first year that Keith's annual salary decreases from $8 million, and his salary total decreases each year until the contract expires after the 2022-23 season.