When it comes to hockey, everyone in the game knows how important it is to have a good goaltender and as such, will pay top dollar for one.
Patrick Roy, considered one of the best goaltenders of all-time, is currently the highest paid netminder in NHL history. Roy made a total $56,771,988 million between the pipes for the Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche. It was certainly well deserved as Roy won multiple Stanley Cups (4), Vezina Trophies (3), Conn Smythe Trophies (3) and won well over 500 games (551).
Nowadays, it seems like NHL goaltenders are getting paid a boatload of money to try and help their team get into the postseason and win hockey’s Holy Grail. While some netminders certainly deserve all the dough that is being thrown at them, it is questionable when it comes to other goaltenders.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the ten highest paid goaltenders in the NHL today according to the great CapGeek.com and see whether they are worth the money that their team is paying them.
1. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators, 2012-13 salary: $7,000,000; 2012-13 cap hit: $7,000,000
None of the past three Vezina Trophy winners (Henrik Lundqvist, Tim Thomas and Ryan Miller), are the highest paid goaltender in the NHL.
That title belongs to Nashville Predators’ netminder Pekka Rinne. Rinne will be making $7 million each season for the next seven years.
As the Predators’ starting netminder for the past three seasons, Rinne has been earning his money, He has been a Vezina Trophy finalist in each of the last two seasons, has gotten the Predators’ into the second round of the postseason in the last two years and has won a lot of games.
With that said, Rinne needs to step up a bit and try and get this team to the next level. The Predators’ could have just as easily made it to the Western Conference Finals or even the Cup final had it not been for inconsistent team play and even a little bit of sloppy play from their star netminder.
Do you think Pekke Rinne is worth $49 million over the next seven years?
2. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers, 2012-13 salary: $6,875,000; 2012-13 cap hit: $6,875,000
It is hard to imagine where the New York Rangers would be without the great netminding of Henrik Lundqvist over the past seven seasons.
Lundqvist is the second highest paid netminder in the league and has two years remaining on his seven-year contract extension and will be making $6,875,000 and $5,125,000 in the next two years, respectively.
Lundqvist has almost singlehandedly made the Blueshirts a respectable club again and has done everything and more for the team since first arriving on the scene in 2005-06. Lundqvist has won a Vezina Trophy, been a Vezina Trophy finalist three times, a Hart Trophy finalist once, and has led the team into the postseason six of the last seven years.
Do you think Henrik Lundqvist is worth $12 million over the next two years?
3. Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks, 2012-13 salary: $6,714,000; 2012-13 cap hit: $5,333,333
There is no doubt that current Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo is great at his trade.
Luongo, the third highest paid netminder, carrying a cap hit of $5,333,333, has done a lot for the Canucks since joining the franchise in the 2006-07 season. He has helped the club win several division titles, has taken the team to a Cup Final in 2011, has been a Vezina Trophy Finalist, has shared a William M. Jennings Trophy with Corey Schneider in 2011 and has been an All-Star.
However, with the money that the Canucks are paying him, Luongo has not delivered what really matters and that is the Stanley Cup. The Canucks had a glorious chance to do so back in the 2010-11 season but Luongo faltered in Games 3, 4, and 6 at the TD Garden against the Boston Bruins and ultimately lost the Cup for his team.
And now Corey Schneider has signed a big new deal to assert himself as the team’s No. 1 netminder.
Do you think Roberto Luongo is worth $53.33 million over the next ten years?
4. Ilya Bryzgalov, Philadelphia Flyers, 2012-13 salary: $6,500,000; 2012-13 cap hit: $5,666,667
The Philadelphia Flyers organization has been like a walk-in clinic for goaltenders as the team has seen several netminders come and go over the past few seasons.
The latest patient, Ilya Bryzgalov, is the fourth highest paid masked man in the league thanks to a nine-year, $51 million deal with the Broadstreet Bullies. While Brzygalov certainly had success with the Phoenix Coyotes for the first few seasons, the amount of years and dollars the Flyers committed is certainly puzzling.
Brzygalov was extremely inconsistent in his first season with the Flyers and unfortunately, was the same way in the postseason as the team got knocked out in the second round by the New Jersey Devils. While the blame should not be placed solely on Bryzgalov’s shoulders, he certainly did not help as much as he could have.
Do you think Ilya Brzygalov is worth $45.33 million over the next eight years?
5. Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes, 2012-13 salary: $6,400,000; 2012-13 cap hit: $6,300,000
When a team has not made the playoffs five of the past six seasons, it is sometimes hard to justify a player’s bloated contract.
With that said, one might be able to make the case for the league’s fifth highest paid netminder Cam Ward of the Carolina Hurricanes. In his next four seasons, Ward will be making between $6,400,000 and $6,800,000 a year.
Ward, a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy winner in the 2005-06 season, has certainly done everything he can to keep the Hurricanes competitive. Ward has posted solid statistics between the pipes despite playing behind a somewhat lackluster defence.
With Jordan Staal joining the club and solid core of forwards, the Hurricanes might find themselves back in the postseason next year, especially if Ward keeps up his end of the bargain.
Do you think Cam Ward is worth $25.2 million over the next four years?
6. Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres, 2012-13 salary: $6,250,000; 2012-13 cap hit: $$6,250,000
There is no doubt that when a team has an all-world goaltender on its roster, the team should pay him as such, especially if he delivers the goods on a yearly basis.
When it comes to Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres, the sixth highest paid goaltender in the NHL, the jury might still be out on whether he deserves all the money the team is paying him. Miller has two seasons left on his current five-year deal and will be making $6,250,000 in both of those years.
Miller is easily the face of the Sabres’ franchise. He is the all-time winningest netminder in Sabres’ history (252 wins), won a Vezina Trophy for his splendid play in the 2009-10 season, and got the Sabres to the Eastern Conference Finals twice, doing so in 2006 and 2007.
However, since those seasons, Miller and the Sabres have only been in the postseason twice and made first-round exits both times. With his talent, resume and contract, there is no doubt that Miller should be doing more for his hockey club with the money that the team is paying him.
Do you think Ryan Miller is worth $12.5 million over the next two years?
7. Niklas Backstrom, Minnesota Wild, 2012-13 salary: $6,000,000; 2012-13 cap hit: $$6,000,000
With Zach Parise and Ryan Suter locked up for the next 13 years, the Minnesota Wild should be a better hockey team going forward.
In goal, however, it is not quite certain what kind of netminding they will be getting. The team is currently paying starter Niklas Backstrom $6,000,000 annually with one more year left on his contract.
While the 34-year-old netminder has posted solid numbers and even earned a Vezina trophy nomination in 2008 for a team that has not made the postseason since that year, Backstrom is certainly getting a paid a hefty amount just to be a regular season goaltender.
This could be Backstrom’s last season to prove he is worth all that dough because up until this point, Backstrom may only be worth a fraction of what the team is paying him.
Do you think Niklas Backstrom is worth $6 million for one more season?
8. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins, 2012-13 salary: $5,500,000; 2012-13 cap hit: $5,000,000
With a Stanley Cup already under his belt, Pittsburgh Penguins’ netminder Marc-Andre Fleury is the eighth highest paid goalie in the NHL.
Fleury will be making $5,500,000, $5,750,000 and $5,750,000 over the next three seasons. Fleury’s contract will be up after the 2014-15 season and should the Penguins and Fleury continue to play like they have been the past few years, Fleury could be due for a raise.
With so much offensive talent and creativity, Fleury has been relied on to make the big saves for his hockey club and more often than not, he has done so, at least in the regular season.
In the postseason, however, Fleury has been a different story. The team has been knocked out in the first round in each of the last two seasons and in those postseasons, Fleury was far from good.
With a Cup already on his resume, it is hard to ask Fleury to do much more. However, with the talent he has in front of him and the star power leading the club, he should be able to deliver more in the postseason and really earn his keep.
Do you think Marc-Andre Fleury is worth $17 million over the next three years?
9. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens, 2012-13 salary: $5,500,000; 2012-13 cap hit: $6,500,000
While Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price might not be the highest paid goaltender in the NHL, he is certainly the goaltender under the most pressure.
Since being drafted in 2005, Price has been hailed as the next Ken Dryden or Patrick Roy by the Canadiens faithful. However, it has been somewhat of a roller coaster for Price, who will be making between $5,500,000 and $7,000,000 for the next six years, not to mention a hefty re-signing bonus.
In the last two seasons, Price has been absolutely terrific for the Habs, despite missing the postseason last year. He has been consistent, an All-Star, and easily the Canadiens’ best player.
It is tough to tell right now whether or not Price is the worth the cash the Canadiens are giving him until he gets his team back into the postseason to compete for a Cup.
Do you think Carey Price is worth $39 million over the next six years?
10. Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary Flames, 2012-13 salary: $5,000,000; 2012-13 cap hit: $5,833,333
Rounding out the top 10 of the NHL’s highest paid netminders is Calgary Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff.
Kiprusoff has been one of the team’s most consistent players since joining the club in the 2003-04 season. "Kipper" will be making $5,000,000 and $1,500,000 over the next two seasons respectively, and has won 311 games, won a Vezina Trophy in 2006, has had three 40-win seasons and has gotten the team into the postseason five times.
Unfortunately for the Flames’ franchise goalie, the team has missed the postseason the last three seasons and really has not made any improvements or additions to help change that. The Flames may even be destined to miss the postseason again this upcoming year.
Kiprusoff however, has proved that he is worth the money that the Flames are paying him because without him, the team would be even worse than they are now.
Do you think Miikka Kiprusoff is worth $6.5 million over the next two years?