NHL Teams With Highest 2023-24 Payrolls: Colorado Avalanche on Top

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NHL Teams With Highest 2023-24 Payrolls: Colorado Avalanche on Top
(Jack Dempsey/AP Photo)
BetMGM @BETMGM Oct 12, 2023, 12:40 PM
  • In 2023-24, the Colorado Avalanche have the highest cash payroll at $125,380,000.
  • Chicago Blackhawks have the lowest cash payroll at $88,964,168.

The 2023-24 NHL season is in full swing and conversations around Stanley Cup odds are ramping up. But how do all 32 NHL payrolls stack up against one another? 

Unlike Major League Baseball’s payroll system, which allows teams to essentially add as much as they’d like to their payroll and pay a luxury tax over a certain threshold, the NHL has a fixed salary cap that teams cannot go over.

The maximum cap for a team in the 2022-23 season is $83.5 million, and the minimum is $61.7 million.

This keeps teams in larger markets from spending extravagant amounts of money to extend their advantage over smaller-market clubs.

How Does the NHL Salary Cap Work?

A team’s salary cap hit is found by adding up the AAV (annual average value) of each player on their roster. This is calculated by adding up each player’s total salary and signing bonuses on their contract, then dividing that number by the number of years the contract spans. 

For example, the Chicago Blackhawks signed Jonathan Toews to an eight-year, $40 million contract with a $44 million signing bonus on July 9, 2014.

The total contract value is $84 million over eight years, meaning that Toews’ AAV is $10.5 million.

That value goes toward the Blackhawks’ salary cap, even though Toews will actually be paid out a different amount each year, as defined in his contract.

If you’re a bit confused by all this, don’t worry — it gets worse.

Teams must be salary cap compliant to start the NHL season, but like with all sports, there are likely to be trades, injuries, recalls, and more player movement throughout the season.

For that reason, a team’s salary cap is determined on a day-to-day basis depending on which players are on the roster. 

Each player’s daily cap hit is calculated by dividing their AAV (calculated above) by the number of days in the regular season.

By the end of the year, the sum of those daily cap hits can not exceed the salary cap maximum of $83.5 million.

This allows teams to have daily cap hits over the maximum salary cap, but the total at the end of the season must still be under $83.5 million.

NHL Teams With Highest Cash Payrolls in 2023-24

RANKTEAMTOTAL CASH PAYROLL
1Colorado Avalanche$125,380,000
2Vancouver Canucks$120,644,167
3St. Louis Blues$120,200,000
4Vegas Golden Knights$118,855,450
5Montreal Canadiens$116,475,833
6Tampa Bay Lightning$115,536,070
7Toronto Maple Leafs$113,714,500
8Columbus Blue Jackets$111,719,166
9New Jersey Devils$111,152,500
10Washington Capitals$110,600,000
11New York Rangers$109,796,056
12Winnipeg Jets$109,175,000
13Seattle Kraken$109,102,500
14Florida Panthers$107,971,667
15Edmonton Oilers$107,455,792
16Boston Bruins$107,443,334
17Calgary Flames$106,730,000
18Pittsburgh Penguins$106,296,842
19Detroit Red Wings$104,868,890
20Dallas Stars$104,627,500
21New York Islanders$103,311,625
22Ottawa Senators$103,095,833
23Minnesota Wild$102,121,666
24San Jose Sharks$100,640,001
25Los Angeles Kings$100,137,500
26Philadelphia Flyers$99,827,691
27Buffalo Sabres$97,674,325
28Nashville Predators$97,203,056
29Anaheim Ducks$95,777,500
30Carolina Hurricanes$95,630,000
31Arizona Coyotes$90,528,332
32Chicago Blackhawks$88,964,168

Highest Cash Payroll In NHL

Colorado Avalanche – $125,380,000

The Avalanche have the highest cash payroll this season, up a whopping 11 spots from last season’s cash payroll

Last season, Colorado dished out only $89,631,153 in cash, the 12th-highest amount in the NHL.

Lowest Cash Payroll in NHL

Chicago Blackhawks — $88,964,168

The Blackhawks have always spent conservatively and this season is no different.

Last season, Chicago ranked 31st in total cash payroll with only $60,870,280. The season prior, Chicago ranked 27th in total cash payroll at $67,976,000.

With a number of big contracts departing this offseason, it’s no surprise to see Chicago toward the bottom in terms of spending.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.