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All-star payrolls: The best teams a mountain of money can buy

The 44 players who took part in Sunday’s NHL All-Star Game represent almost a quarter of a billion dollars in salary cap hits.

TAMPA – For the past three years, each and every player on the team that won the NHL’s All-Star Game tournament has left with almost $91,000 more dollars in his designer jeans. It’s a nice little prize that might inspire them to occasionally go on the backcheck and possible even break a sweat, but when you look at the array of talent on the ice, it might approach the amount of change these guys have in their sofas.

The 44 players who took part in Sunday’s event represent almost a quarter of a billion dollars in salary cap hits. At one point in the proceedings, a goal by Sidney Crosby from Alex Ovechkin for the Metro Division represented $18.2 million in salary. A later goal by Auston Matthews from Jack Eichel for the Atlantic was much more of a bargain today, but will probably cost somewhere in the range of $20 million in a couple of years. A Brent Burns goal from Connor McDavid for the Pacific Division will come with a $20.5-million price tag starting next season when McDavid’s $12.5-million cap hit kicks in.

All told, the 44 players on the ice totaled a cap hit of $235.8 million. The team that got the biggest bang for its buck was the Atlantic, largely because Matthews, Eichel and Brayden Point are all still on their entry-level deals, with Eichel beginning an extension that will carry a $10-million cap hit next season. And beginning next season, Carey Price’s price goes from $6.5 million to $10.5 million. At just $50.3 million, the Atlantic is clearly the small-market budget team of the bunch, but it should be prepared to loosen its purse strings in a big way.

The Pacific Division was next with its 11 players totaling $57.9 million. That, too, will take a big jump next season when McDavid checks in with his league-high $12.5-million cap hit. The Metropolitan Division had a cap hit of $61.8 million and the Central, with Patrick Kane’s current league-high $10.5-million hit, is the biggest spender at $65.8 million.

Here’s how each team looked from a cap hit perspective:

CENTRAL DIVISION

Patrick Kane, Chicago $10.5M

P.K. Subban, Nashville $9.0M

Pekka Rinne, Nashville $7.0M

Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis $6.5M

Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado $6.3M

Tyler Seguin, Dallas $5.75M

Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg $5.6M

Brayden Schenn, St. Louis $5.125M

John Klingberg, Dallas $4.25M

Eric Staal, Minnesota $3.5M

Connor Hellebuyck $2.25M

TOTAL $65.8M

METROPOLITAN DIVISION

Alex Ovechkin, Washington $9.54M

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh $8.7M

Henrik Lundqvist, NY Rangers $8.5M

Claude Giroux, Philadelphia $8.275M

Kris Letang, Pittsburgh $7.25M

Braden Holtby, Washington $6.1M

John Tavares, NY Islanders $5.5M

Josh Bailey, NY Islanders $3.3M

Brian Boyle, New Jersey $2.75M

Noah Hanifin, Carolina $925,000

Zach Werenski, Columbus $925,000

TOTAL $61.8M

PACIFIC DIVISION

Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles $10.0M

Brent Burns, San Jose $8.0M

Drew Doughty, Los Angeles $7.0M

Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary $6.75M

Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas $5.75M

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona $5.5M

James Neal, Vegas $5.0M

Mike Smith, Calgary $4.25M

Rickard Rakell, Anaheim $3.79M

Connor McDavid, Edmonton $925,000

Brock Boeser, Vancouver $925,000

TOTAL $57.9M

ATLANTIC DIVISION

Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay $8.5M

Erik Karlsson, Ottawa $6.5M

Carey Price, Montreal $6.5M

Brad Marchand, Boston $6.125M

Mike Green, Detroit $6.0M

Aleksander Barkov, Florida $5.9M

Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay $4.77M

Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay $3.5M

Jack Eichel, Buffalo $925,000

Auston Matthews, Toronto $925,000

Brayden Point, Tampa Bay $687,667

TOTAL $50.3M

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