Jun. 7—Sidney Crosby has positioned himself to his career subjectively judged against the top 10 or so players in NHL history.
According to one respected outlet, there is one measure by which the Pittsburgh Penguins superstar is already at the top of the list for any player the NHL has ever seen.
Crosby has become the league's all-time career earnings leader, according to NHL salary-cap tracker capfriendly.com. Crosby has earned more than $129 million over the course of his 16-year career, per the site, with this past season's salary nudging him past another former Penguins superstar, Jaromir Jagr, as the best-paid player in the 100-plus year history of the NHL.
Jagr, whose career spanned 26-plus years (11 seasons with the Penguins), earned $128.1 million, according to capfriendly.com. Longtime Crosby rival Alex Ovechkin ranks third at $123.2 million, with Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber ($120.01 million) fourth and former Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier fifth at $112.2 million.
Crosby, 33, just finished the eighth season of a 12-year, $104.4 million contract that averages $8.7 million in compensation annually (actual cash earnings vary by season). He'd previously played under a five-year deal at that same average annual value (it matches the uniform number — 87 — and birthdate — 8/7/87 — for the superstitious Canadian) after playing the first three seasons of his NHL career under the terms of a standard entry-level deal.
Crosby's teammate since his second NHL season — Evgeni Malkin — ranks eighth in all-time earnings, per capfriendly, at $109.2 million. Current Penguins center Jeff Carter is 59th all-time at $71.2 million, and defenseman Kris Letang is 71st at $65.3 million.
Other recent former Penguins of varying tenures who are among the top 50 in all-time earnings:
— Patrick Marleau, 19th, $96.2 million
— Marian Hossa, 20th, $94.1 million
— Jarome Iginla, 23rd, $91.4 million
— Phil Kessel, 30th, $85.4 million
— Marc-Andre Fleury, 47th, $74.7 million
CapFriendly qualifies its listing by limiting it to its own database, which presumably doesn't veer too deep into the NHL's past. However, rapidly-escalating salaries would indicate few who played prior to recent decades would be among the best-paid in NHL history.
The website also says its estimates do not account for performance bonuses and can lack precision for players prior to 2016 because of those who were sent to the minors or juniors in-season and the difficulty in estimating the exact number of days of service time.
Keep up with the Pittsburgh Penguins all season long.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .