Money, Money, Money

Archived from 2001-02 season.

NHL teams

The salaries in the NHL have continued to rise in recent years and this season is no exception. Peter Forsberg emerges as the top dog with a cool $11 million paycheck, runner-ups include Jaromir Jagr, Paul Kariya and Pavel Bure all above $ 10 million.

There are currently 352 players making $1 million or more and the average salary in the league is about $1.5 million.

There is a widening gap between the payrolls of the top-spending teams such as the New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings and Dallas Stars and smaller-payroll teams such as Pittsburgh, Carolina and Calgary.

"We aren't as deep into the quicksand as baseball teams, but there is no question the gap that didn't exist a few years ago is widening rapidly," Vancouver Canucks general manager Brian Burke said.

"This is just saber-rattling," agent Bob Murray said. "The people who own these teams aren't stupid. They didn't get to the business position they are in by being dumb. If they are willing to pay these salaries, there are financial reasons why."

Some of the owners want a salary cap, which the players union (NHLPA) strongly opposes. Many fear that the next collective-bargaining negotiation in 2004 is going to be the all-out war.

"I think the players know they have to be prepared for a work stoppage," agent Jay Fee said. "I think players are all smartly preparing for that."

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