Some players sign longer deals and then break out in a big way while others sign contracts they can’t live up to. Still, others take bridge deals in hopes of earning a big pay raise by the end of their contracts. That is who we are focusing on here. Fifteen stars in the NHL who are underpaid this upcoming season excluding those players still on entry-level contracts.

 

Evander Kane – $5.125 Million

After having his contract terminated by the San Jose Sharks last season, the Edmonton Oilers took a chance on Evander Kane and it greatly paid off. He immediately clicked in Edmonton with Connor McDavid and company, scoring 22 goals and 39 points in 43 regular-season games. That’s a 40-goal pace if he had played the entire season.

Kane had an incredible showing in the playoffs as well, netting 13 goals and 17 points in 15 games. He brings a physical element to the game that very few can when combined with his scoring ability. He quickly took a peek at other options in free agency this offseason, but re-signed with the Oilers for $5.125 million average annual value (AAV) for four years. It appears as though he is getting better or is in his prime. So, to lock up a potential 40-goal scorer for that cheap is a win for Edmonton.

Nathan MacKinnon – $6.3 Million

Nathan MacKinnon has been criminally underpaid for a number of years now. He signed a long-term deal right before he broke out and became a superstar. His rookie season looked very promising but took a step back the next two seasons before he signed a seven-year contract worth just $6.3 million AAV. The Colorado Avalanche just so happened to have an incredibly bad season following the contract extension but MacKinnon’s last five seasons have been stellar.

Since 2017-18, MacKinnon has recorded 167 goals and 442 points in 338 games. He put together three consecutive seasons scoring 35-plus goals and 93-plus points before a shortened season and an injury put an end to that. He just helped the Avalanche take home the Stanley Cup with a great performance, where he ranked near the very best in all-time playoff points per game with 1.32. He hinted his next contract may make him the highest-paid player in the NHL, which we will find out soon enough as he’s entering the final year of his current deal.

 

Jonathan Huberdeau – $5.9 Million

Jonathan Huberdeau has been a factor for his team and an offensive force in this league since he was a rookie. The only season he struggled was his sophomore season. After that, he noticeably progressed into the superstar we see today. He has posted well over a point per game in the past four seasons, recording 346 points in 286 games. He finished second in the NHL in scoring last season and recorded a crazy 85 assists.

Huberdeau has received Hart Trophy votes in each of the past two seasons and definitely signed his current contract for security rather than betting on himself. That has been corrected as his next contract with the Calgary Flames will nearly double his current AAV for eight more seasons.