On July 5, Edmonton Oilers superstar center Connor McDavid officially became the highest-paid player in the NHL by signing an eight-year, $100 million contract extension that kicks in after next season.
Considering McDavid won the Hart Trophy at age 20 and, if you adjust for era, is on a similar scoring path as Sidney Crosby, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, it could be argued that the Oilers came out winners, despite that eye-popping figure. They will probably have enough cap space to keep young forward Leon Draisaitl and won't have to think about losing the league's most dominant player until 2025-26.
By setting a new benchmark, McDavid's contract changes the game. The league's top players and their agents now have a number for which to aim, and teams will have incentive to push for more revenue knowing the price to keep top talent just went up.
Only Crosby can argue that his game is on par with McDavid's, and Sid is under contract until 2024-25. But that doesn't mean other superstars won't try to beat McDavid's $12.5 million average annual value. Here are six players who could be in line soon to challenge McDavid's deal: