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24/7 Wall St.: Highest-Paid Players of All Time

1. Joe Sakic

Salary ratio: 14.56
Sport: hockey (center)
Highest salary: $17 million (1998)
Average player salary: $1.17 million (1998)

It should probably come as a surprise that Joe Sakic is the highest-paid player in one of the four major sports. Sakic played his entire 20-year NHL career with the Quebec Nordiques franchise, which became the Colorado Avalanche in 1995. During his tenure, Sakic won two Stanley Cups with the Avalanche, was league MVP during the 2000-2001 season, and was voted to 13 All-Star games. Sakic currently holds the record for the most playoff overtime goals, at 8. In 1998, two years after the Avalanche won the Stanley cup in their first year as a team, the New York Rangers made a substantial offer that Colorado was forced to match. As a result, Sakic earned $17 million that season, more than 14 times the average NHL salary that year of $1.17 million. This deal, arguably more than any other in hockey, made NHL salaries higher than possibly sustainable for small-market teams. This drove the league down the path to its missed 2004-5 season and the subsequent salary cap system that it now has in place.

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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