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:

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

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

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

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