List of top KHL salaries revealed

october 17, 2019
After some painstaking research, Russia's Sport Express has published a list of the top salaries of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). Considering that in this offseason, some RFAs tried to use KHL as well as Western European teams as leverage, the list is of interest to many hockey fans.

The KHL is a 24-team league, with the highest overall attendance of all European leagues. It has one team each in the former Soviet republics of Latvia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, as well as the Finnish Jokerit Helsinki and the Chinese Red Star Kunlun. Each team is limited to 5 foreign players on its roster, though this becomes more complicated with dual citizenships and players born in the former Soviet Union.

The league was established in 2008 and several teams have joined and left over the course of its run. The league has a salary cap, but it's rules are rather complex considering exception for players under age 21 and so-called "marquee signings."

The list is given in millions of Russian Rubles, the yearly salary being listed. The USD is currently worth approximately 64 Rubles at the official exchange rate. Bonuses are not included and in some cases may effectively double a player's salary.

1) Sergei Mozyakin, FW, Metallurg Magnitogorsk - 180 million

The 38-year-old was once a 9th round draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets back in 2002, but chose to stay in Russia. When the KHL was established, he was playing in the Russian Super League (KHL's predecessor). He has played for Metallurg for the last 8 seasons, after 3 years with Atlant Moscow Oblast, a team no longer in the league. He has won two Gagarin Cups (KHL's equivalent of the Stanley Cup), is a 9-time All-Star, and holds six scoring titles in the league. He is the league's all-time leader in games played (609), goals (331), and assists (375). He also has a pair each of World Championship gold, silver, and bronze medals, representing Russia and won an Olympic gold at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics last year. Russian media refers to him as the best Russian player to have never played in the NHL.

2) Nigel Dawes, LW, Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg - 150 million

The journeyman winger left the NHL in 2011, after playing 212 games with six different teams over five seasons and racking up 43 points, with frequent AHL stints in between. He spent the next seven years playing for Barys Astana in Kazakhstan before making the move to Avtomobilist last season. Though he represented Canada in 2004 and 2005 at the World Junior Championships, Dawes became a naturalized citizen of Kazakhstan in 2016 and has represented the country in international play. In 455 KHL games, Dawes has 231 goals, a number second only to Mozyakin.

3) Danis Zaripov, LW/RW, Ak Bars Kazan - 130 million

Never drafted by an NHL team, the 38-year-old Zaripov has done quite well for himself. He is the only player to have won five Gagarin Cups (three with Ak Bars and two with Metallurg), and is 3rd all-time with 505 points in 552 KHL games. He has three World Championship gold medals with Team Russia.

4) Viktor Antipin, D, Metallurg Magnitogorsk - 125 million

Antipin has 321 KHL games under his belt at the age of 26, but he spent a season with the Buffalo Sabres in 2017-18, playing 47 games and picking up 10 assists, before suffering a concussion and a broken nose at the hands of Scott Hartnell of Nashville. After Buffalo chose not to tender him a qualifying offer, he went back to Metallurg on a three-year deal. He has won two Gagarin Cups with the team.

5) Linus Omark, LW, Salavat Yulaev Ufa - 120 million

The 32-year-old Swede is in his fifth season with his current team, but has NHL experience with the Oilers and Sabres, with 32 points in 79 career NHL games. His KHL numbers are far better with 316 points in 360 contests.

5) Maxim Shalunov, C, CSKA Moscow - 120 million

5) Vadim Shipachyov, C, Dynamo Moscow -120 million

8) Mikhail Grigorenko, C, CSKA Moscow - 110 million

9) Justin Azevedo, C, Ak Bars Kazan - 105 million

Azevedo is a former Kitchener Rangers (OHL) standout, drafted by the LA Kings in 2008 but unable to climb out of the AHL.

10) Pavel Datsyuk, C, Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg - 100 million

10) Bogdan Kiselevich, D, CSKA Moscow - 100 million

10) Jiří Sekáč, LW, CSKA Moscow - 100 million

The list goes down to players making at least 70 million. Among the notable names familiar to NHL fans are Nikolai Kulemin, Andrei Loktionov, and Yegor Yakovlev at 95 million, Sven Andrighetto, Anton Slepyshev, Alexei Emelin, and Cody Franson at 90, Kirill Kaprizov, who will likely be donning Minnesota Wild colors next season, at 80. Slava Voynov whose still outstanding suspension for domestic violence effectively ended his NHL career makes 70 million. Also at that number is infamous Edmonton Oilers former No. 1 overall pick Nail Yakupov in his second year with SKA St. Petersburg.

Which scenario would you prefer if the NHL season restart?

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