Since the NHL salary cap was introduced in 2005, clubs have kept a close eye on two key player payroll markers - cap hit and salary. Cap hit corresponds to the dollar amount applied towards team salary cap whereas salary connotes a player's actual take home pay.
The chart below presents 2011 NHL player cap hit and salary figures for the top ten players in each position as published by NHL Numbers.
2011 NHL Player Cap Hit By Position
2011 NHL Player Salary By Position
Amazingly, the CBA permits a player's cap hit and salary figure to diverge dramatically in the same season. Accordingly, Ovechkin carries the highest cap hit, consuming $9.538m of the Capitals $59.4m team limit, whilst Luongo and Lecavalier both collect more bank ($10m) despite costing significantly less against the cap ($5.33m, $7.727m).
The NHL and NHLPA recently took preliminary steps to target common cap circumvention techniques, prompted by New Jersey's signing of Kovalchuk, presumably in an attempt to close the gap between a player's annual cap hit and salary figure. Expect more such measures to gain momentum as we near the expiration of the CBA in 2012.
A listing of the highest paid players in the NHL since 1990, along with the teams responsible for cutting their checks, can be found here.
* See also 2014-2015 NHL Highest Salary & Cap Hit By Position.
* See also 2013-2014 NHL Highest Salary & Cap Hit By Position.
* See also 2012-2013 NHL Highest Salary & Cap Hit By Position.
* See also 2011-2012 NHL Highest Salary & Cap Hit By Position.
* See also 2010-2011 NHL Highest Salary & Cap Hit By Position.
* See also NHL Highest Paid Players By Year.
* See also Rethinking NHL Player Salary Structure.
* See also NHL Minimum Wage & Maximum Wage By Year.