With the likelihood of the NHL lockout extending into the regular season, there is no doubt that NHLers will be losing money this season.
Some NHLers will lose significant amounts and may be forced to do something else to pick up extra money. Most of these players are probably fourth-liners or depth players.
On the other end, however, a select group of NHLers won’t be taking quite a significant hit due to their signing bonuses and what they would have been making during the season.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at which five players will be losing the least amount of money, relative to their projected 2012-13 salary, should they be locked out the entire season:
Shea Weber, D, Nashville Predators: $1 million
This off-season was certainly a crazy one for Nashville Predators’ defenceman Shea Weber. However, it was one that will help him should there be some kind of extended lockout this year.
In a gutsy move during the off-season, the Philadelphia Flyers signed Weber to a 14-year offer sheet worth $110 million. With the Predators having just lost defenceman Ryan Suter to the Minnesota Wild and in danger of losing their team captain in Weber, the Preds match the offer.
Weber’s signing bonus for this upcoming season is worth $13 million, while his 2012-13 salary "only" totals $14 million. As such, Weber will only be losing $1 million of the year’s wages should the league be locked out for 82 games.
Ryan Suter, D, Minnesota Wild: $2 million
Much like Weber, his former defensive partner with the Nashville Predators, defenceman Ryan Suter had quite the interesting and rewarding off-season.
On the first day of free agency, Suter was signed to a 13-year deal worth $98 million by the Minnesota Wild. It was one of the most lucrative deals in Wild history, and one that must pay off if the team wants to become a postseason contender.
Suter is due to make $12 million total this season, which includes a signing bonus of $10 million. Therefore, should the NHL season be lost for the year, Suter will only lose $2 million of his salary.
Zach Parise, LW, Minnesota Wild: $2 million
The other most lucrative deal that the Minnesota Wild signed this off-season was to left winger Zach Parise.
Like Suter, Parise was also signed to a 13-year deal worth $98 million. The Wild, not known for their offensive prowess, now have someone who can produce on a consistent basis and a player that wields a ton of speed, a nose for the net, soft hands and the ability to create plays.
In an identical windfall to Suter, Parise is due to make $12 million this season with a signing bonus of $10 million. Like Suter, Parise will only lose $2 million if the lockout extends.
Tyler Myers, D, Buffalo Sabres: $2 million
Coming off a season in which the team missed the playoffs, the last thing the Buffalo Sabres want is a lockout.
That said, there is a player on the Sabres’ roster who could afford to lose a season (financially speaking), and that is young defenceman Tyler Myers. Myers, 22, is coming off his worst season (22 points in 55 games) and one that he needs to forget about.
However, Myers is due to make $12 million in 2012-13 while also having a $10 million signing bonus, which means that Myers will lose just $2 million in salary.
Christian Ehrhoff, D, Buffalo Sabres: $3 million
In a somewhat curious 2011 off-season move, the Buffalo Sabres went out and signed defenceman Christian Ehrhoff to a 10-year deal worth $40 million.
Ehrhoff is not considered to be one of the best defenceman in the NHL. Yes, he can put up between 30 and 50 points a season, but when pressed to name the most elite defencemen in the league, Ehrohoff’s name is not one that usually comes up.
Much like teammate Myers, Ehrhoff will not lose a lot money if a lockout cancels the entire 2012-13 season. Ehrhoff is due to make $8 million in 2012-13 with a $5 million signing bonus, meaning that Ehrhoff will only lose $3 million in salary if a lockout wipes out the entire campaign.