The most expensive player contracts in Canucks history

Oct 4 2021, 11:30 pm

Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes made Vancouver Canucks history over the weekend, with the official announcement of their new contracts.

Both deals will carry the largest cap hits in team history, with Hughes counting $7.85 million for the next six years. Pettersson will count slightly less against the cap, at $7.35 million, though he’ll likely surpass his teammate when his contract is up in three years.

The two budding superstars promise to be full value for their deals, which isn’t something we can say about everyone on the Canucks’ list of all-time most expensive contracts.

For this article, we’ll look only at contracts signed by the Canucks, not deals acquired by the team, meaning players like Oliver Ekman-Larsson won’t be considered below.

Largest prorated contract

Mats Sundin ($5.6265M for half a season)

Mats Sundin turned down the $20 million, two-year contract that he was offered by former Canucks GM Mike Gillis, but he still took home a lot of money.

The former Toronto Maple Leafs captain made $5,626,500 in his one season in Vancouver, but prorated, no Canuck has ever signed a more lucrative deal.

Sundin played exactly half a season for the Canucks in 2008-09, as he didn’t join the team until game #42. Prorated, that’s an $11.253 million contract for an 82-game season.

His deal is extra eye-popping when you consider that the salary cap was only $56.7 million in 2008-09, compared to the $81.5 million cap that’s been in place since 2019-20.

Biggest total value deal

Roberto Luongo ($64M for 12 years)

The largest total value of a contract ever signed by a Canucks player was $64 million, in a contract extension signed by Roberto Luongo in 2009, which kicked in beginning in 2010-11. Luongo’s now infamous contract was a 12-year deal that carried a modest cap hit of $5.3 million.

Most expensive salary in today’s dollars

Mark Messier ($11.37M in today’s dollars)

No list of expensive Canucks contracts would be complete without a mention of Mark Messier, so here we are.

The Canucks signed Messier in the summer of 1997 to a five-year contract worth $6 million per season, although the team elected to use a $2 million buyout option after the third season.

The result was $20 million for three years of service for Messier, which in today’s dollars, works out to be a whole lot more. The $6.67 million USD average signed in 1997 is about $11.37 million per year in 2021 dollars.

Highest cap percentage

Markus Naslund (15.38% of the 2005-06 salary cap)

In terms of the percentage of the salary cap, Markus Naslund leads the way with the deal he signed in 2005.

Of the $39 million cap the Canucks operated under in 2005-06, Naslund ate up 15.38% of it with his $6 million salary.

Largest single-season salaries

henrik daniel sedin

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

NHL player contracts began to explode in the 1990s, and kept spiralling out of control until the salary cap was put in place following the lockout in 2004-05. That helps explain why Todd Bertuzzi signed a bigger contract in 2003 than Markus Naslund did in 2005.

Average salaries have been climbing steadily as the cap has risen from $39 million in 2005-06 to $71.4 million in 2015-16, to $81.5 million today.

1. Quinn Hughes ($7.85M)

Contract: 6 years, $47.1 million (2021)

2. Elias Pettersson ($7.35M)

Contract: 3 years, $22.05 million (2021)

3. Henrik Sedin ($7M)

Contract: 4 years, $28 million (2013)

4. Daniel Sedin ($7M)

Contract: 4 years, $28 million (2013)

5. Todd Bertuzzi ($6.95M)

Contract: 4 years, $27.8 million (2013)

6. Roberto Luongo ($6.75M)

Contract: 4 years, $27 million (2006)

7. Mark Messier ($6.67M)

Contract: 3 years, $20 million (1997)

8. Henrik Sedin ($6.1M)

Contract: 5 years, $30.5 million (2009)

9. Daniel Sedin ($6.1M)

Contract: 5 years, $30.5 million (2009)

10. Loui Eriksson ($6M)

Contract: 6 years, $36 million (2016)

11. Tyler Myers ($6M)

Contract: 5 years, $30 million (2019)

12. Markus Naslund ($6M)

Contract: 3 years, $18 million (2005)

13. Ryan Miller ($6M)

Contract: 3 years, $18 million (2014)

14. Alex Edler ($6M)

Contract: 2 years, $12 million (2019)

Honourable mention

Pavel Bure ($25M for five seasons)

He’s not on the list above, but Pavel Bure signed one of the biggest deals of the 1990s, a five-year contract worth $5 million per season. The contract, signed in 1994, was worth about $8.5 million in today’s dollars.

The Russian Rocket really cashed in after he went to Florida though, as the Panthers signed him to a five-year contract in 1999, paying him $9.5 million per season. That’s $15.6 million in today’s dollars.

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