Will There Ever Be Another $100M Contract In The NHL?


Good Friday was very good for a trio of athletes around the sports world.  Detroit Tigers Pitcher Justin Verlander signed a 7 year contract extension valued at $180M…yes that is $180 MILLION dolllars over 7 years, which equals out to $25.7M per season.  He is a pitcher.  Starting every 5th game he would get about 33 starts in a season, which would give him $778,787 per start.

On the same day, NL MVP and batting champion Buster Posey agreed to a $167M, 9 year contract to pay him $18.5M per season, but at least he is a position player, and will play over 140 games barring injury.

Also today, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo agreed to a monster contract worth $108M over 6 years, or $18M, or assuming he starts every game, and $1.125 per start.

According to Wikipedia, there have been 63 contracts in excess of $100M signed in the 4 major North American sports plus auto racing and European soccer over the years.  This does not include the 3 signed today.

Crosby and Ovechkin are 2 of the NHL’s 4 $100M men. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

There are 4 NHL players on that list:  Alex Ovechkin, Shea Weber, Sidney Crosby and Ilya Kovalchuk.  Will there ever be another one?

The short answer is Yes. Under the new CBA, the longest contract a player can sign is 8 years.  Under this rule, a player would have to earn $12.5M per season to get to $100M in a single contract.

The most cap space one player can occupy (at least under the expired CBA) was 20% of the Salary cap.  As a result, as long as the rule is still in place under the new CBA (in which I couldn’t find anything to the contrary), then all the Salary Cap has to do is to remain above $62.5M.  And as per the agreement,

"Upper Limit shall never fall below $64.3M during the term of this Agreement"

So, there is no doubt in my mind that at some time over the course of the next 8-10 year existence of the CBA, as the revenues continue to increase and big name players come up to Free Agency, at some point a team is going to break the bank with a contract that surpasses the $100M mark.

Who will it be?  Evgeni MalkinSteven StamkosJohn Tavares? Nail Yakupov, Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall or any of the other Edmonton hot-shot kids?  Nathan McKinnon or someone else who isn’t even in the league yet?