NHL Coach: How Much Does An NHL Coach Make?

NHL Coaches: How Much Does An NHL Coach Make?

The salary of players in the NHL is a general topic that most hockey fans know at the back of their heads. However, most people don’t know the salary of coaches in the NHL. How much do these coaches make, and how does it compare to other sports leagues?

How Much Do NHL Coaches Make?

How Much Do NHL Coaches Make

The salary of NHL coaches depends on the position they operate in a team. The head coach position in the NHL is the highest coaching level in the NHL, and next to them are the assistant coaches. The reason why head coaches are prioritized is that they are the backbone of every team. 

Coaches in ice hockey are responsible for analysing the games and previous matches of a team. They also come up with game plans, tactics, drills and skill development training that a team will need in every part of a game.

Whether on-ice or off-ice, coaches play a vital role in the growth of any NHL team.

Generally, every NHL team will have one head coach and about four to five assistant coaches who also assist in organising players on-ice.

Unlike the salary of NHL players, the salary of coaches is not disclosed to the public. This leaves room for investigative reports and statements from local reporters to find and disclose their annual salary. 

NHL Head Coach Salary

NHL Head Coach Salary

The annual salary of an NHL coach starts from $1 million and currently peaks at $5 million. Just like players, NHL coaches also sign a guaranteed contract with an NHL team. The contract stipulates the number of years a coach would take a team and the annual salary. 

From the limited data gathered on the salaries of NHL coaches, the lowest-paid NHL head coach is Luke Richardson. Currently, he is the coach of the Chicago Blackhawks, and on June 29, 2022, he signed a $6 million 4-year contract with the NHL team. 

The breakdown of Richardson’s contract rounds up to $1.5 million annually

In contrast, the highest-paid head coach in the NHL is Todd McLellan of the Dallas Stars. On the 6th of April 2019, McLellan signed a $25 million 5-year contract with the Dallas stars. Presently, the annual breakdown of McLellan’s contract is valued at $5 million annually. 

Highest-Paid Head Coach In NHL History

The highest-paid head coach in NHL history is Mike Babcock. On May 15, 2015, Babcock signed the largest head coach contract deal in the NHL of $50 million for eight years. 

Eventually, the contract with the  Toronto Maple Leafs comes down to a $6.25 million annual salary. However, in 2019 Babcock was fired by the Maple Leafs, spending about half of his contract tenure. 

NHL Assist Coach Salary 

NHL Assistant Coach salary

Assistant coaches are not paid nearly as much as head coaches in the NHL. The salary range for assistant coaches in the NHL is $200,000 to $400,000 annually. Also, an assistant coach’s salary depends on factors such as: experience, achievement with players and team, bargaining power, and much more. 

An assistant coach who has helped to see that a team makes it to the playoffs or is proactive and stands out will have a greater command over his contract salary. 

Assistant coaches can also be promoted to the level of head coach.

An Interim Coach is an assistant coach used as a replacement whenever a head coach is fired. In such an instance, he is given a trial as the head coach of the team. If he is successful, he could be given a contract as a head coach; if not, a new head coach is hired.

List And Salary Of All NHL Coaches 

Since a team can have only one head coach, the number of coaches in the NHL is 32. The table below shows a list of all the head coaches in the NHL, their total contract value and their annual salary. 

NHL TeamHead CoachAnnual SalaryTotal Contract Value
Anaheim Ducks Dallas Eakins$$
Arizona CoyotesAndre Tourigny$$
Boston BruinsJim Montgomery$2,000,000$6,000,000
Buffalo SabresDon Granato$$
Calgary FlamesDarryl Sutter$$
Carolina Hurricanes Rod Brind’Amour$$
Chicago BlackhawksLuke Richardson$1,500,000$6,000,000
Colorado AvalancheJared Bednar$2,250,000$15,000,000
Columbus Blue JacketsBrad Larsen$$
Dallas StarsPeter DeBoer$4,250,000$17,000,000
Detroit RedwingsDerek Lalonde$$
Edmonton OilersJay Woodcroft$2,000,000$6,000,000
Florida PanthersPaul Maurice$3,900,000$11,700,000
Los Angeles KingsTodd McLellan$5,000,000$25,000,000
Minnesota WildDean Evason$$
Montreal CanadiensMartin St. Louis$3,000,000$9,000,000
Nashville PredatorsJohn Hynes $$
New Jersey DevilsLindy Ruff$$
New York IslandersLane Lambert$$
New York RangersGerard Gallant$3,500,000$14,000,000
Ottawa SenatorsD.J. Smith$$
Philadelphia FlyersJohn Tortorella$4,000,000$16,000,000
Pittsburgh PenguinsMike Sullivan$$
San Jose SharksDavid Quinn$$
Seattle KrakenDave Hakstol$$
St Louis BluesCraig Berube$3,500,000$10,500,000
Tampa Bay LightningJon  Cooper$$
Toronto Maple LeafSheldon Keefe$$
Vancouver CancunksRick Tocchet2,750,000$5,500,000
Vegas Golden KnightsBruce Cassidy$4,500,000$22,500,000
Washington CapitalsPeter Laviolette$4,900,000$14,700,000
Winnipeg JetsRick Bowness$2,500,00$7,500,000

Contract Guarantee Of NHL Coaches

Since the contract of NHL coaches is guaranteed, they are sure to receive the full value of their contract. This means once they have signed a contract, they will be paid the full stipulation even if they are fired before the contract expires. 

However, coaches do not spend very long in a team and usually do not last until their contract expires, especially for long-term contracts. This is why a saying goes that

Coaches Are Hired To Be Fired”

On average, coaches spend about two to three years in an NHL team. Only in rare cases do NHL coaches (head coaches) oversee a team for five years. 

Moreover, if a coach is fired before the expiration of a contract and gets hired by another team, he is meant to receive the full contract’s worth of the previous team. However, we don’t know if a coach’s last team can negotiate itself into paying a percentage of the contract value of the fired coach. 

NHL Coach Salary Compared To Other Sports Leagues

Comparing Salary Of NHL Coach To Other Sports Leagues

Compared to other sports leagues, such as the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Football League (NFL), the salary of NHL coaches is relatively tiny. 

Average Head Coach Salary

From the data gathered, the average salary of an NHL head coach (using the average of the number of data available) is approximately $3,300,000. Meanwhile, the average salary of an NBA coach is $3.5 million. If you think the salary gap isn’t much, think again, especially with the $6.692 million average salary of NFL head coaches. 

Lowest Paid Head Coach

According to the limited data on NHL coach salary, the head coach with the lowest salary is Luke Richardson, who makes $1.5 million annually. In the NBA, the lowest salary of a head coach is $2 million. However, when it comes to the NFL, the lowest salary of a head coach is $3.5 million, and it’s the salary of Gus Bradley (Jacksonville Jaguars) and Mike Pettine (Cleveland Browns)

Highest-Paid Head Coach

The highest-paid coach in the NHL receives $5 million annually (Todd McLallen). Meanwhile, the highest-paid head coach in the NBA is Greg Popovich, earning $11.5 million annually. But even that is nothing compared to the salary of a head coach in the NFL, Bill Belichick.

Currently, Belichick makes a whopping $20 million annually and stands as the highest-paid head coach in the NFL. 


Finally, that brings us to the end of this topic on the salary of NHL head and assistant coaches. Although coaches do not release their contract value as players do, we have gotten an insight into how much they make based on the data that we have. 

Thanks for reading. 

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