Throughout the years, athletes have become some of the highest paid people in the entire world. The NBA and MLB lead the way in terms of career earnings for athletes in America (at $24.7 million and $17.9 million, respectively), but the NHL is actually ahead of the NFL in third. The average yearly salary for an NHL player these days is $2.4 million and their careers last for an average of 5.5 years, meaning that they are making $13.2 million in a career on average.
That wasn’t always the case, as some NHL players, even the best ones out there, weren’t making more than just $2 million per season in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Despite salaries that were just a fraction of what they are today, there are still some former NHL players that have been able to secure financial stability now that their careers are over.
Just to think, in 1990, Bryan Trottier was the fifth highest paid player in the NHL with $575,000. Now, the fifth highest paid player is Evgeni Malkin at $9.5 million. It’s crazy to see how much things have changed in such a short period of time. Can you imagine a league where a player of Trottier’s talent was being paid just one fifth of what Malkin is making?
So how much are the players that you grew up watching worth and what have they been up to since they hung up their skates for the last time? Here are 15 former NHL stars with net worths that might surprise you after knowing just how little they made during their playing days.
15 15. Darren McCarty - $500,000
14 14. Steve Yzerman - $50 Million
13 13. Mike Modano - $50 Million
12 12. Keith Tkachuk - $60 Million
11 11. Ed Jovanovski - $53 Million
10 10. Peter Forsberg - $54 Million
9 9. Paul Kariya - $62 Million
8 8. Martin Brodeur - $55 Million
7 7. Mark Messier - $42 Million
6 6. Rob Blake - $57 Million
5 5. Nicklas Lidstrom - $60 Million
4 4. Joe Sakic - $70 Million
3 3. Pavel Bure - $68 Million
2 2. Mario Lemieux - $150 Million
1 1.Wayne Gretzky - $200 Million
Of course the richest former player is “The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky, but not many people were sure how much he was really worth. Gretzky is the pick for greatest NHL player by just about anyone that has ever watched hockey, as he holds the record for just about any category that you can imagine. Gretzky barely made more than $40 million in his playing career from salaries, but it didn’t matter, as he was one of the most marketable athletes of his time, which shows in his estimated net worth of $200 million. After his playing days ended, Gretzky became a part owner of the Arizona Coyotes and coach, and relinquished his share after the team went bankrupt in 2009. Still, Gretzky is worth a massive amount, as he is basically the Michael Jordan of hockey.
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