1/3rd of NHL Players receive 2/3rds of total salary

As the collective bargaining agreement discussions began today, it was interesting to think about where the power lies within the NHLPA.  As we have seen in our analyisis, veteran / UFA players appear to receive disproportionate compensation relative to their performance when compared to entry level and restricted free agent player output. Basically on a pay-for-performance basis, younger players are subsidizing older players based on seniority.  That being said, we saw how the latest NFL CBA strongly favor veteran, multi-year players over less experienced players.

So we decided to see what the distibution of salaries looks like in the NHL and examine how much power the elite players might yield based on their compensation.  Here are the results of our analyis of the top 752 players who played in the NHL in 2011-12.


2011-12  Distribution of Player Salaries (Cap Hit)

Salary   Level $5M or more $4M – $5M $3M-$4M $2M-$3M $1M-$2M <$1M Total
# of Players 78 61 103 85 152 272 751
% of Players 10% 8% 14% 11% 20% 36%
Total $ (M) $486 $262 $352 $211 $212 $171 $1,693
% of Ttl $ 29% 15% 21% 12% 13% 10%

As you can, about 65% of all the salaries go to about 32% of players who make more than $3M per year. This is not surprising, and somewhat less disproportionate than one might have expected.

Note: This analysis is consistent with the Puckonomics methodology and does not include every single player who played in the NHL in 2011-12 or who got paid despite not playing.