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NHL's top 10 earning players for this season

NHL 18 is a hockey simulation game developed by EA Sports based on the National Hockey League, published for PS4 and XboxOne. The game also features several game modes such as: Hockey Ultimate Team, Online Mode, revamped version of “be a GM”, Manager Mode, Franchise Mode etc.

NHL franchise values are soaring with the average team now worth $594 million, but all players are being forced to take a haircut on their salaries with revenue growth not keeping pace with rising player costs. The NHL's collective bargaining agreement with the players calls for only 50% of "hockey-related-revenue" allocated to salaries. The result is an escrow system where 15.5% of every players' salary is held in an account during the season until the league tallies its revenue for the year. Almost all of that money has been returned to owners the last few years with the slowing pace of revenue growth.

Below are the NHL's top 10 earning players for this season. Their total earnings of $133 million are basically flat from a year ago. The endorsement earnings' estimates include income from sponsors, appearances, licensing and memorabilia. We do not deduct for income taxes or the escrow plan.

The NHL's Highest-Paid Players

1. Jonathan Toews

Total Earnings: $16 million

Salary: $13.8 million

Endorsements: $2.2 million

Toews and Kane signed matching eight-year, $84 million contracts in July 2014. The deals included the NHL's highest annual salary each of the past three seasons before dropping to $12 million next season.

2. Sidney Crosby

Total Earnings: $15.7 million

Salary: $10.9 million

Endorsements: $4.8 million

Crosby's endorsement roster remains unmatched in the NHL. His sponsors include Adidas, CCM, Frameworth, Gatorade Canada, Tim Horton’s, Upper Deck, Verizon and Hallmark.

3. Patrick Kane

Total Earnings: $14.8 million

Salary: $13.8 million

Endorsements: $1 million

Kane had the NHL's second best-selling jersey last season. He became the first American-born player to lead the league in scoring and win the Hart Trophy during the 2015-16 season.

4. Alexander Ovechkin
Total Earnings: $14.5 million

Salary: $10 million

Endorsements: $4.5 million

Papa John's is using the three-time MVP in its' marketing in Russia where it has more than 100 franchises. A recent promotion had Ovechkin's image on one million pizza boxes.

5. (tie) Anze Kopitar

Total Earnings: $13.1 million

Salary: $13 million

Endorsements: $100,000

Kopitar is in the second year of the eight-year, $80 million contract he signed in January 2016 after the center led the Los Angeles Kings to two Stanley Cup titles in three years.

6. (tie) Jamie Benn

Total Earnings: $13.1 million

Salary: $13 million

Endorsements: $100,000

The Dallas Stars locked up their captain last summer with a deal worth $76 million over eight years. Benn led the NHL in scoring during the 2014-15 season.

7. P.K. Subban

Total Earnings: $12.5 million

Salary: $11 million

Endorsements: $1.5 million

The Montreal Canadiens traded Subban to the Nashville Predators last year, but he is still a sought after endorser despite the move to the smaller market. Sponsors include Samsung, Gatorade, Listerine and Bridgestone.

8. Shea Weber

Total Earnings: $12.1 million

Salary: $12 million

Endorsements: $100,000

Weber, 32, still has eight more seasons after this on the massive 14-year, $110 million contract he signed with the Predators in 2012 before being traded to Montreal last year for Subban.

9. Steven Stamkos

Total Earnings: $11 million

Salary: $9.5 million

Endorsements: $1.5 million

Stamkos left money on the table to as a free agent in 2016 to return to Tampa under an eight-year deal worth $68 million. The Maple Leafs reportedly wanted the four-time All-Star and his marketing profile would have soared even higher with a move north.

10. Corey Perry

Total Earnings: $10.2 million

Salary: $10 million

Endorsements: $150,000

Perry's eight-year, $69 million contract with the Anaheim Ducks calls for his total salary and bonus to decline $1 million annually each of the next three years through the end of the deal after the 2020-21 season.