As the dust settles and rosters are filled in NHL free agency, the rich have gotten richer among agencies in the sport. The top two agencies, Newport Sports & CAA, represent 28% of NHL total contract value, 26% of player cap hit, and 21% of all players. The top seven agencies, Newport Sports, CAA, Octagon, Wasserman/Orr, KO Sports, Quartexx, and The Sports Corp, represent 54% of total contract value, 52% of player cap hit, and 46% of all contracts. Among players with an annual cap hit of $6 million and higher, the top two agencies represent 28% of them. The top seven agencies represent 59% of such players.
PuckPedia, pictured below, tracks the agent leaderboard at https://puckpedia.com/agents. Pat Brisson of CAA leads all agents in total value of active contracts at a staggering $1,024,870,001. Agent fees generally range anywhere from 3-5% of a player’s salary. Craig Oster of Newport Sports leads all agents in active contracts, with 76 NHL clients. Both Brisson and Oster were busy this offseason.
Brisson and client Tony DeAngelo avoided arbitration with the New York Rangers after agreeing to a two-year, $9,600,000 contract extension. DeAngelo will earn a base salary of $4,300,000 while carrying a cap hit of $4,800,000 through the 2022 season. The 25-year-old defenseman will equate to a hair above 8% of the Rangers’ total cap hit over the next two seasons.
Craig Oster’s top client is Erik Karlsson of the San Jose Sharks. The Swedish defenseman signed a $92,000,000 contract with the Sharks in 2019. This offseason, Oster secured contract extensions for clients Sam Reinhart (one-year, $5,200,000), Robin Lehner (five-years, $25,000,000), and Brenden Dillon (four-years, $15,600,000).
Stephen Screnci is ranked 39th out of 123 listed agents in total value of active contracts, yet he represents just one player: Alex Ovechkin. Jeff Jackson of Wasserman/Orr Hockey Group represents the player with the largest average annual value (AAV) of contracts: boy-wonder Connor McDavid. Jackson also represents Quinton Byfield, who was recently selected second overall by the Los Angeles Kings, making him the highest-selected Black player ever in the NHL Draft.
Notable players who choose to represent themselves instead of having an agent include the Kings’ Drew Doughty, the Capitals’ Nicklas Backstrom, and unrestricted free agent Anthony Duclair. In October 2020, Duclair fired his agent and took over contract negotiations with the Ottawa Senators by himself, against the advice of General Manager Pierre Dorion. The two sides could not come to an agreement and the Senators declined to extend him a qualifying offer on a new contract, making him a free agent.
Daniel Milstein of Gold Star Sports Management Group has seemed to carve out the Russian market. Ranked 14 out of 123 in total value of active contracts, he represents a slew of Russian hockey players, including Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Stanley Cup winning Lightning.
The two biggest free agent signings this offseason were Alex Pietrangelo (seven-years, $61,600,000 ) to the Vegas Golden Knights and Torey Krug (seven-years, $45,500,000 ) to the St. Louis Blues. Krug will slot into the former Blues’ captain’s spot on the first defensive pairing. He is represented by Lewis Gross of Sports Professional Management. Pietrangelo is projected to partner with defenseman Brayden McNabb for Vegas and is represented by Mark Guy of Newport Sports.