Top 10 Richest Hockey Players in the World | Net Worth
When we think of outlandishly big contracts in sports, the NHL doesn’t get mentioned enough. Sure, they aren’t the contracts that hit $200, $300, or $400 million, but there are some handsomely paid players in the NHL.
These people can accumulate wealth through these large NHL contracts with teams like the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche, and more.
In this piece, we will explore who the richest hockey player ever is, what the richest hockey player’s net worth is, and more. So, who is the richest hockey player ever? Read on to find out who makes the cut.
The list of the richest hockey players ever is largely dominated by recent players. Sports, in general, didn’t pay all that much through the 1980s, with player salaries reaching the millions only by the 1990s. For that reason, it may be a shock to see that some all-time great names are nowhere near the top when it comes to the richest hockey player.
With the minimum salary now just under $1 million, most players who play a significant amount of time in the NHL become millionaires. These superstars also have the opportunity to earn money away from the ice due to their fame and everything else to build their fortune.
Arguably the greatest Swedish player of all time, Lidstrom is worth around $60 million, making most of it since the turn of the millennium. Drafted in 1989, Lidstrom spent the entirety of his 20-year NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings.
Lidstrom earned most of his money by being the best defenseman on the planet for a long time. He won the Norris Trophy (best defenseman) an incredible seven times, made 12 NHL All-Star Games, and won the 2002 Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
Lidstrom became the first European captain to lead his team to a Stanley Cup, his fourth with the franchise. Lidstrom has done it all in his career and has been paid as one of the best to ever do it on top of all that. He is in the Hall of Fame, and for good reason.
Iginla came around at a good time, becoming a dominant power forward in the league at a time when salaries were beginning to rise at a rapid rate.
Iginla played in the NHL for 20 years, 16 of which he spent playing with the Calgary Flames. The majority of his net worth comes from his time in the NHL as one of the best and most physical goalscorers the league had to offer.
Iginla also racked up quite a few dollars in endorsements as well. He has been a spokesman for Samsung Canada, Scotiabank, and was even the cover athlete for EA Sports’ NHL 2003 video game. Iginla has been a star and ambassador for the game and has been paid well because of it. Many modern players like Connor McDavid, Steven Stamkos, and Alexander Ovechkin have followed Iginla’s lead and used their popularity to make money away from the game.
Sometimes, being a second fiddle pays pretty well. Of course, it helps if you’re one of the best players in the league during your career, and Malkin has definitely been that. Taken second overall in 2004, “Geno” has been a franchise-caliber player for the Penguins ever since he joined the team. He now is worth more than $55 million due to his NHL career and is heading towards the $64 million marker next.
He has won a slew of individual awards including the Calder Trophy (rookie of the year), Hart Trophy (MVP), Art Ross (scoring leader), and Conn Smythe (playoff MVP). He has also been a crucial aspect of three Stanley Cup-winning teams in Pittsburgh.
He has earned more than $140 million in contract salary throughout his career and likely could have made more if he weren’t playing behind Sidney Crosby. Still, Geno has become a major earner and makes a ton from brands like Upper Deck, GoPro, Framework, and more.
The man known as “Moose” made his bones in the NHL as a fierce competitor, top producer, and arguably the greatest captain in NHL history. Despite playing half the time in New York than he did in Edmonton, Messier became an icon in the Big Apple.
Messier scored nearly 700 career goals and finished in the top 5 in career points in the league’s history. He won six Stanley Cups, five with Edmonton and one with New York, a Hart Trophy, and just about every individual accolade one could have.
In addition to boasting multiple Hart Memorial Trophies, Messier has successfully leveraged his on-ice achievements into lucrative contracts and endorsement deals. Since hanging up his skates in the early 2000s, he has continued to make his mark off the ice by serving in managerial positions, specifically as assistant to the president and general manager for the Rangers.
When talking about the richest hockey player net worth, this one may be something of a shock. That’s not to say that Pronger wasn’t one of the best players in the world during his time in the league because he certainly was.
Pronger played an incredible 23 NHL seasons with six different franchises. He is the last defenseman to win the Hart Trophy as league MVP and has since become a senior advisor of hockey operations for the Florida Panthers.
His status as one of the top players in the league prior to the league’s major lockout in 2004 helped boost his earnings. If you are asking, “Who is the richest hockey player ever,” Prongers is going to make the shortlist because of his massive contracts.
You don’t get to make the shortlist when it comes to the richest hockey player net worth without being dynamic. Bure, the former Central Red Army standout, wound up being one of the most exciting and breathtaking players to ever step on the ice.
The Hockey Hall of Famer scored 437 goals in just 702 NHL games. His career was shortened by knee injuries, but there is no questioning the kind of dynamic offensive ability he brought to the table. You don’t earn the nickname “the Russian Rocket” for nothing, after all.
What’s interesting is that Bure comes into the conversation of “who is the richest hockey player ever,” partially because of actions after his career. He took the Vancouver Canucks to court over their treatment of him and took home some large settlements as a result.
You don’t get to be on the shortlist for the richest hockey player net worth by being a decent player. Deemed “the next one” when he was drafted first overall in 2005, Crosby has not only lived up to expectations but exceeded them in every conceivable way.
In June 2012, he signed a 12-year deal for $104.4 million with the Penguins. He has had deals with Tim Hortons, CCM, Gatorade, and Adidas, among others. His accolades include a few MVPs, three Stanley Cups, and arguably the most important goal in Canadian Olympic history in 2010.
Crosby continues to be one of the biggest and most visible stars in the NHL. Though he may not challenge Gretzky for the title of the richest hockey player, he has made more than his share of money during his illustrious career.
Ovechkin has done something that few foreign-born athletes manage to do. He has captivated fans for nearly two decades and become one of the most popular players in the world. For that, he has been paid quite handsomely during his 15+ years in the NHL.
Ovechkin also signed the largest pact in NHL history, a 13-year, $124 million deal back in 2008. He helped the Capitals capture their first Stanley Cup in 2018 and has the kind of personal accolades that most hockey players could only dream about having.
Ovechkin continues to be adored by fans because he scores some of the most electrifying goals and loves doing it. Even in his late 30s, Ovechkin continues to be one of the premier goalscorers in the NHL, threatening the 50-goal mark each year.
There is one thing that could further propel Ovechkin further up the list of the richest hockey player net worth. He is currently chasing Wayne Gretzky’s NHL record for career goals, 894 over his illustrious career. Ovechkin, at 38 years old, sits at 822 goals and could conceivably break the record within the next two seasons. That’s a mark that will go down in history and probably make him a few more dollars.
2. Mario Lemieux – $200 million
Lemieux was considered neck-and-neck with Gretzky in terms of his playback in the 1980s and 1990s. Injuries and a battle with health issues cost him a lot of games and ultimately made him a huge “what if” despite being one of the most dominant players in league history.
Lemieux actually didn’t make all that much during his playing days, though some estimates put his total salary over $50 million. But when the Penguins went bankrupt in 1999, Lemieux deferred his $26 million salary for roughly 25% of the team. When the team sold to Fenway Sports Group in 2021, it is estimated that Lemieux pocketed $350 million.
Currently, Lemieux is a minority shareholder with the Penguins and is considered to be the saviour of hockey in Pittsburgh. Without him, the team may not have remained in town, let alone won three Stanley Cups with Crosby, Malkin, and company.
The answer to “who is the richest hockey player ever?” is a simple answer. It’s “the Great One,” the Michael Jordan of hockey. Gretzky dominated during his days on the ice, and he continues to dominate with the heftiest bank account among hockey players.
Gretzky made roughly $46 million in salary and another $50 million in sponsorships and endorsements during his playing days. Since then, he has been a part-owner of sports teams, invested in real estate, and become a spokesman for companies like DraftKings.
Gretzky has been the face of hockey for nearly 40 years. He is the greatest to ever do it and has been paid like it for a long time. It will take some time before he is unseated as the richest hockey player ever.
Expert's View on The Richest Hockey Players Net Worth
Though their contracts don’t quite compare with their brethren in the NFL, MLB, and NBA, the top-level hockey players are making quite a bit of dough. The wealthiest players in the league make in excess of $10 million per year, and that number will only continue to grow.
The list of the richest NHL players will see players earn more than $100 million in their careers. Combined with promotional earnings, those numbers will only grow. Not bad for a day’s (or career’s) work.
Wayne Gretzky is the unquestioned richest man in hockey. He is estimated to be worth more than $250 million today. He is considered to be on the same level as Michael Jordan, though the latter has a much larger net worth.
Of those still playing, it is a tight race between Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. Both have a net worth of around $80 million, garnering some of the biggest contracts in the league’s history at the time they were signed.
Given that he is the greatest player in the history of the game, it should come as no surprise that he is also very rich. He is estimated to be worth more than $250 million.
Because of the time in which he played, Gretzky didn’t make all that much while playing. He earned $2 million per year at the height of his career in Los Angeles and finished by making $6.5 million per year in his final two seasons with the New York Rangers.
The biggest contract in NHL history belongs to Ovechkin, who inked a 13-year, $124 million pact with the Washington Capitals in 2008. The largest AAV ever, however, belongs to Nathan MacKinnon of the Avalanche at $12.5 million per year.
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Rowan is a sports betting journalist with an established presence in the sports media industry through his thought-invoking coverage and commentary surrounding major leagues like the NBA, NFL, and NCAA. While Rowan specializes in NBA, NFL, and NCAA college sports coverage, he consistently follows and reports on every major sport in North America.
Facts checked by Jake Skudder