Who is the highest paid Montreal Canadien?: Nick Suzuki Leads The Pack

Carey Price is the highest paid if you include LTIR, but another Canadien has set the benchmark for the rest of his team.
Vegas Golden Knights v Montreal Canadiens - Game Six
Vegas Golden Knights v Montreal Canadiens - Game Six / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Carey Price is "technically" the Canadiens highest-paid player, as his $10.5 million per year contract still sits on long-term injured reserve until the end of the 2025-26 season. However, if you take that contract away, Nick Suzuki is the highest-paid Canadien, and it looks like it could stay that way for a while.

Nick Suzuki will make $7.875 million until the end of the 2030 season, which is $25,000 more than Cole Caufield, whose contract ends at the end of the 2031 season. Juraj Slafkovsky recently signed an extension that pays him $7.6 million per season until 2033. There aren't many more options to make more than Suzuki unless David Reinbacher becomes a star for the Canadiens and demands more before 2030 with the salary cap increasing. There is also a chance that Ivan Demidov will come to Montreal within the next two seasons and become a superstar. However, until then, Nick Suzuki will continue to be the benchmark for the Canadiens.

Will the trend continue?

It's hard to say whether Nick Suzuki will always be the leading salary player for the Canadiens. It is clear the strategy that the Canadiens are trying to take. Some teams can get their leaders at a reasonable cap hit, and if the players around them respect their roles, they will take an annual salary that is less than that.

We saw it for years when the Boston Bruins were among the best in the Eastern Conference. Patrice Bergeron made a reasonable cap hit, and no player would take more than him. The strategy is why Brad Marchand's contract was one of the best bargain deals for the 2010s. We're starting to see the same thing pan out with Cole Caufield and Juraj Slafkovsky sitting underneath Suzuki's cap hit.

It takes a special player to come along and break that trend. The Bruins had that when David Pastrnak was due for a contract and took $11.25 million. Like it or not, the Canadiens have a lot of similarities with the Bruins' situation. In a perfect world, Ivan Demidov will come to North America like Pastrnak and take the league by storm. The Canadiens won't be upset if Demidov is such a big superstar that they have no choice but to make him the highest-paid player.

I'll make a bold prediction and say the Canadiens' situation plays out the same, and Ivan Demidov will be the Habs' leading cap hit by the time Nick Suzuki is up for renewal in 2030.