Sidney Crosby Contract: Power Ranking the Highest Paid NHL Players in 2012

Kevin W. Ryan@@kevry88Contributor IIIJuly 1, 2012

Sidney Crosby Contract: Power Ranking the Highest Paid NHL Players in 2012

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    On the same day the NHL announced a salary cap increase to $70.2 million, NHL's golden boy Sidney Crosby got a very large payday from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    While Crosby is inked for the next 12 years, earning just over $100 million in the process, here's a look at the highest-paid players for the 2012-13 NHL season. 

    Data taken from

No. 25-20, $7 Million Per Year

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    All of the following players are guaranteed to make $7 million per season: 

            Player    Team Age Signed Through..
        Jarome Iginla     Calgary  34        2017 
     Mike Cammalleri     Calgary  30        2017
        Joe Thornton   San Jose  32        2015
         Danny Briere Philadelphia 34        2020
       Brent Seabrook    Chicago  27        2017
    James Wisniewski   Columbus  28        2018

No. 19: Brian Campbell, Florida Panthers (D)

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    $7.14 Million (Eight Years Remaining)

    After eight impressive seasons on the Buffalo Sabres, Campbell funneled to San Jose at the trade deadline in 2008 before signing an extension with the Blackhawks. Chicago loaded their roster for their 2010 Stanley Cup run, yet once the offseason came, they simply couldn't afford to keep all of their stars and traded Campbell to Florida.  

    In his first season in Florida, Campbell helped the Panthers to a No. 3 seed in the 2012 playoffs with the utmost class and respect. While achieving career-high numbers in both points and assists, Campbell brought home the Lady Byng award, which is given to the best player with the utmost sportsmanship.   

    Campbell was the first defenseman to win the Lady Byng since 1954 and is sure to be named team captain soonwell worth the largest deal on the team.  

No. 18: Chris Pronger, Philadelphia Flyers (D)

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    $7.2 M (Seven Years Remaining)

    Flyers Captain Chris Pronger is one of the best defensemen in the NHL.

    At 37 years old and battling a major concussion, it doesn't seem too likely that Pronger will finish the seven remaining seasons on his contract. 

    Whether he finishes his seven-year deal or retires early, Pronger is well worth the lucrative deal and is a sure first-ballot Hall of Famer.  

No. 17: Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers (F)

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    $7.5 M (Five Years Remaining) 

    Blueshirts sniper Marian Gaborik finished the 2011-12 season leading the team in goals (41) and points (76).

    While he's out for the next six months due to shoulder surgery, he's still one of the highest-paid players in the NHL.   

No.16: Rick Nash, Columbus Blue Jackets

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    $7.6 M (Eight Years Remaining) 

    As of now, the Columbus Blue Jackets sign Nash's big checks. Come July 1st however, he'll likely have a new home

    Nash's prolific play on the ice has been largely unnoticed as the Blue Jackets have only played in four playoffs games in Nash's nine NHL seasons.

    His most likely destinations for 2012-13 include Carolina, Philadelphia, New York (Rangers) and San Jose. 

No. 15: Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings (F)

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    $7.75 M (12 Years Remaining) 

    Henrik Zetterberg is inked to stay in Detroit for the next 12 seasons and is a likely replacement at captain for the recently retired defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom. 

    Over the next 12 seasons, the Swedish sniper is guaranteed to make an average of $7.75 million per season. 

    Despite the great chemistry Zetterberg has with the stoic Pavel Datsyuk, the Wings made an early exit in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It will be interesting to see how head coach Mike Babcock handles the roster headed into the 2012-13 campaign.  

No. 14: Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks (F)

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    $7.9 M (12 Years Remaining) 

    Hawks sniper Marian Hossa was a key piece to the Blackhawks Stanley Cup run in 2010, which impressively was his third consecutive Cup Finals with three different teams. 

    After leaving both Pittsburgh and Detroit following losses in the Stanley Cup Finals, Hossa finally won his first Stanley Cup following Patrick Kane's Stanley Cup-winning overtime goal in 2010. 

    While Hossa was finally able to exhale after the thought of three consecutive Cups without a ring, he also doesn't have to worry about future finances as he's guaranteed nearly $8 million over the next 12 seasons. 

No. 13: Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning (F)

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    $8 M (Five Years Remaining) 

    While Stamkos is just 21 years old, he's inked for five more seasons with the Bolts at $8 million per year. 

    While the sniper is already the 13th highest-paid player in the NHL, the dude is probably due for an extension in the near future as he's won the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league's top goal scorer two out of the last three seasons. 

No. 12: Christian Ehrhoff, Buffalo Sabres (D)

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    $8 M (10 Years Remaining) 

    You read that right: Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff is the 12th highest-paid player in the NHL. 

    The former Canuck was traded to Buffalo back in 2011 and was signed to a massive contract extension. 

    It was not a surprise that the Canucks left him off the 2011-12 roster as he finished the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a minus-13 rating. 

No. 11: Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks (D)

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    $8 M (13 Years Remaining) 

    Duncan Keith is the highest-paid player on the Chicago Blackhawks and deservedly so. 

    Keith anchored the Hawks' tenacious-D for their 2010 Stanley Cup run which also featured handsomely paid blue-liners like Brian Campbell and Brent Seabrook. 

    Those hailing from Vancouver have extreme dislike for Keith and his style of play, as the rugged Hawks-Canucks rivalry is heating up as one of the best rivalries the NHL has to offer. 

No. 10: Jason Spezza, Ottawa Senators (F)

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    $8 M (Seven Years Remaining) 

    Ottawa Senators forward Jason Spezza is the most happily-paid player in Ottawa.  

    While the Senators have made the playoffs five out of the last seven seasons, the Sens are running out of time with the dynamic duo of Spezza and Daniel Alfredssonshedding minimal light on the future for 21-year old budding defenseman Erik Karlsson. 

No. 9: Mike Richards, Los Angeles Kings (F)

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    $8.4 M (12 Years Remaining) 

    At this time last season, it was very easy to prove that Richards was one of the most overrated and overpaid players in the league.

    However, this all changed after Richards helped propel the Kings offense to win the 2012 Stanley Cup. 

    Richards had a great six-year career in Philadelphia where he averaged 22 goals and 36 assists. After a supreme drop in production once he arrived in Los Angeles, it's a miracle that Richards and the 29th ranked offense even made the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

No. 8: Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes (F)

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    $8.5 M (Seven Years Remaining) 

    Seeing as how the Carolina Hurricanes have only made the playoffs twice since their historic 2006 Stanley Cup, it is a bit strange to see that they have one of the league's highest-paid players on their depth chart. 

    After all, Staal has etched his name in the coveted "Triple Gold Club" (Olympic Gold, Gold at World Championships, Stanley Cup) which has only been accomplished by 25 players in history. 

    Eric will have a new, yet very familiar face joining him once the 2012-13 season rolls around as his younger brother Jordan was traded to Carolina just hours after getting married.  

No. 7: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins (F)

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    $8.7 M (12 Years Remaining) 

    The Pittsburgh Penguins' front office made one of the most controversial roster moves in franchise history on June 28th. 

    While it's without question that Crosby's play deserves a $100 million contract, the controversy comes in with his health.  

    Crosby has suffered two massive concussions which have sidelined him for the majority of the last two years: 28 games in the last 18 months.  

    It's certainly great that Crosby is a fan-favorite, and he grows the game in the greater Pittsburgh area. However,  it's unlikely that the captain will be healthy enough to play in the NHL through 2025.

No. 6: Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (F)

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    $9 M (13 Years Remaining) 

    Alex Ovechkin has already posted 679 points through 559 career games at just 26 years old.

    "The Great 8" is one of the most talented athletes without a championship and has the trophy case to prove it. 

    After winning the 2006 Calder Memorial trophy as the league's top rookie, Ovi took home three Lester B. Pearson trophies (most outstanding player), two Hart Memorial trophies (league MVP), two Rocket Richard trophies (NHL's top goal-scorer) and one Art Ross Award (most points in a season). 

    Ovechkin also added five consecutive Kharlamov Trophies as the NHL's top Russian player.

    Although he has an incredible individual career at such a young age, Ovechkin will forever be the NHL equivalent of LeBron Jamesa nametag that will surely drop once the famed Ovechkin name is etched onto Lord Stanley's Cup.   

No. 5: Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins (F)

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    $9 M (Five Years Remaining) 

    Another reason why Crosby's 10-year extension is strange is the fact that superstar forward Evgeni Malkin is only signed through the next five years. 

    The 25-year-old Russian is well on his way to a Hall of Fame career and is one of the most dominant power forwards in hockey today.  

    Malkin returns to Pittsburgh in 2012-13 with both the 2012 league MVP and the Most Outstanding Player awards. 

No. 4: Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay Lightning (F)

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    $10 M (11 Years Remaining) 

    Bolts Captain Vincent Lecavalier was picked first overall in 1998 and has played his entire career in Tampa Bay. 

    After another solid season in 2012, Lecavalier is the proud owner of six Tampa Bay scoring records.   

    At 32 years old, Lecavalier is the perfect fit for team captain with a young superstar like Steven Stamkos to watch over. 

No. 3: Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils (F)

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    $11 M (15 Years Remaining) 

    Russian sniper Ilya Kovalchuk will be on the Devils payroll through the 2026-27 season. 

    With the large contract, however, comes great expectations, and after leading New Jersey to the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals as a modest sixth seed, Devils fans worldwide can expect a lot more in the near future. 

No. 2: Tyler Myers, Buffalo Sabres (D)

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    $12 M (Seven Years Remaining)  

    Heading into 2012-13, Tyler Myers is guaranteed $12 million. Following the lucrative salary for one season, the salary drops to $6 million for 2013-14. 

    Myers is just 22 years old and one of the most promising young defensemen in the NHL. However,  the 6'8'' Texas native will need to improve drastically to deserve to be the second highest-paid player in the National Hockey League.  

No. 1: Brad Richards, New York Rangers (F)

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    $12 M (Nine Years Remaining)  

    New York Rangers forward Brad Richards is guaranteed $12 million for the next two seasons in Madison Square Garden, making him the league's highest-paid player. 

    While the Rangers' 2012 playoff success is mostly credited to goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, the Blueshirts will turn to Brad Richards for much of the offensive production to bring a Stanley Cup to Manhattan.