Question: Do NHL players get paid anything in the playoffs? If so, how much do they receive and how are funds distributed?
There is no salary cap in the playoffs, however, players still receive compensation for a playoff appearance. The NHL and NHLPA agree to set aside a playoff bonus pool to be distributed to teams based on how far they advance.
In 2012-13 and 2013-14, the playoff bonus pool was $13 million, or twice the amount set aside in the earlier Collective Bargaining Agreement. The pool is set to rise in future years as league revenues are also expected to increase:
- 2014-15 and 2015-16: $14 million
- 2016-17 and 2017-18: $15 million
- 2018-19 and 2019-20: $16 million
- 2020-21 and 2021-22: $17 million
The NHLPA, with league approval, determines how the pool is distributed among the playoff-participating teams each year.
According to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, here is how the $13 million pool was divided in the 2013 playoffs:
- President’s Trophy winner — $500,000
- First round losers — $2 million ($250,000 each to eight teams)
- Second round losers — $2 million ($500,000 each to four teams)
- Third round losers — $2.5 million ($1.25-million each to two teams)
- Stanley Cup finalist — $2.25 million
- Stanley Cup champion — $3.75 million
Each player receives an equal share of the pool allocated to their respective team, but some adjustments can be made based on roster size, healthy scratches, and other unique situations.
On a 2013 playoff team that lost in the first round and had a roster of 25 players, each player received approximately $10,000.
Players on the Stanley Cup winning roster, assuming the same 25-man allocation, received approximately $150,000.
CBA Reference: 28.1 Page 168
Note: Explanation and legal interpretation of the above is solely the opinion of the author and may not reflect all scenarios or actual CBA interpretation by NHL/NHLPA representatives. If you have a suggestion for improving this interpretation, please reach out via our Contact page.