How much do NHL coaches get paid? (with salary tracker)

Have you ever wondered how much an NHL coach gets paid? Well, so do a lot of other people. However, the information is not easy to obtain, because coach’s salaries are not officially published. The main source of a coach’s salary information comes from local reporters.

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How much does a NHL coach get paid? An NHL coach’s salary ranges from about $1 million to $5 million with an average in the $2.5 to $3.0 million USD. A coach’s salary is guaranteed and if they get fired they will still get paid out the entirety of the contract.

Let’s take a closer look at a coach’s salary in the NHL.


Coach’s salaries do not need to be reported publicly 


The first thing to know about coach’s salaries are not disclosed to the public like player’s salaries are. There is no coaches union like there is a player’s union. And the player’s union has voted to make salaries public, whereas coach’s salaries come out throw insider knowledge.

Player’s salaries were not made public until 1989. At that point players did not even really make their salaries known amongst each other, but decided to release all of the information as a way of helping to push salaries higher to have decent comparables. The tradeoff was a lack of privacy for your salary for an ability to negotiate a higher salary. 

However, for whatever reason, the coaching fraternity has not followed suit. 

Instead, we need to rely on local reporters uncovering the salaries of the respective coaches. With this being the case not all coaches salaries are known.  

My assumption is that some coaches are letting their salaries ‘slip’ as a way to do informally what players did back in 1989. If more coaches are aware of comparable salaries, it will only push salaries of all the coaches up.

And since there are only 31 coaches it is easier to get a feel for a coaches salary than it is if you needed to survey 700 players.  


NHL Coach’s contracts are guaranteed


A coach’s salary is on a guaranteed contract. If a coach signs a contract for 3 years they will get paid for the full three years of the contract. Even if they are fired a month into that contract.

There have been many cases where a coach has got fired from a team, and has been hired by another team. This does not necessarily mean they will get paid double. 

A team will need to seek permission to talk to the coach who has been fired, because they are still under contract for the other team. What it does mean is that there is probably some sharing of costs on the old contract if the new team wants to hire him. 

We can never be exactly sure what has happened in these cases, but if you were the old employer wouldn’t you try to claw back a million or so? 


NHL coaches are hired to be fired


That is a good thing for the coaches that their contracts are guaranteed because as they saying goes, ‘coaches are hired to be fired’. 

Coaches do not have a long tenure as a head coach in the NHL. There is the odd coach who will go for longer than 5 years, but most only survive a couple of years.

And, if you are a coach you do not want to win the Jack Adams for coach of the year. Why is that???? Because, it is often the case (a curse) that they are fired the next year. The have set themselves up for too high of expectations. 

With all of that being said I have come up with a coaches salary tracker.

As you will see not all of the information is filled out, but I believe it is the most complete tacker out there.

A couple of caveats I wanted to share:

  1. Interim coaches – when a coach is fired they will often be replaced with an assistant coach from the team on a trial basis. This is what they call an interim coach. If they do great they will get a full contract after the year, if not the gm will find a new head coach. The salaries of interim coaches are never reported. I am sure (hope) they will get a bump up in salary from the assistant role.
  2. Help – The chart is not complete! If you have any information on the missing parts of the tracker, please let me know – I would appreciate the help!

Coach’s Salary Tracker

TeamCoachContract LengthSalary
Arizona CoyotesRich Tocchet4 years starting 2017-18$1.5 million/year
Boston BruinsBruce CassidyExtension starting in 2020-21$3 million/year
Buffalo SabresRalph Krueger3 years starting 2018-19$4 million/year
Calgary FlamesGeoff Ward2 years starting 2020-21$900,000/year
Carolina HurricanesRod Brind'Amour3 years starting 2018-19N/A
Chicago BlackhawksJeremy Colliton3 years starting 2018-19$1.5 million/year
Colorado AvalancheJared Bednar2 year extension thru 2021-22N/A
Columbus Blue JacketsJohn Tortorella2 year extension thru 2020-21Previous $2 million/year
Dallas StarsRick BownessInterimN/A
Detroit Red WingsJeff Blashill4 years starting 2015-16$800,000/year
Edmonton OilersDave Tippett3 years starting 2019-20$2.75 to $3.0/year
Florida PanthersJoel Quenneville5 years starting 2019-20$5 million + up to 1.75 million in bonuses per year
Los Angeles KingsTodd McLellan5 years starting 2019-20$5 million/year
Minnesota WildDean Evason2 years starting 2020-21N/A
Montreal CanadiensClaude Julien5 years starting 2017-28$5 million per year
Nashville PredatorsJohn Hynes3 years starting 2019-20N/A
New Jersey DevilsLindy Ruff3 years starting 2020-21N/A
New York IslandersBarry Trotz5 years starting 2018-19$4 million/year
New York RangersDavid Quinn5 years starting 2018-19$2.4 million/year
Ottawa SenatorsDJ Smith3 years starting 2019-20N/A
Philadelphia FlyersAlain Vigneault5 years starting 2019-20$5 million/year
Pittsburgh PenguinsMike Sullivan4 year extension starting 2019-20N/A
San Jose SharksBob BoughnerInterimN/A
St. Louis BluesCraig Berube3 years starting 2019-20N/A
Tampa Bay LightningJon Cooper3 year extension starting 2019-20$3.5-4 million/year
Toronto Maple LeafsSheldon Keefe3 years starting 2019-20N/A
Vancouver CanucksTravis Green4 years starting 2017-18$1 million/year
Vegas Golden KnightsPeter DeBoer4 years starting 2019-20N/A
Washington CapitalsPeter Laviolette3 years starting 2020-21$4.9 million/year
Winnipeg JetsPaul Maurice4 years starting 2019-20$3 million/year

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