Source: NHL won’t defer on $300M in bonuses

    Emily Kaplan is ESPN’s national NHL reporter.

NHL players that are due signing bonuses on July 1 are expected to be paid as scheduled, a source confirmed to ESPN.

There is more than $300 million due to be paid to players on Wednesday, with the Toronto Maple Leafs leading the league with roughly $60 million owed. Contracts structured with large signing bonuses have been in vogue in the NHL over the last several years.

Maple Leafs forwards Auston Matthews ($15.2 million) and Mitch Marner ($14.3 million) will receive the largest payments on July 1. Connor McDavid (Oilers) is third in the NHL at $13 million and Artemi Panarin (Rangers) is fourth at $12 million, according to CapFriendly.com.

The agreement to pay players, and not defer, was made on Tuesday between the NHL and NHLPA. The two sides are in ongoing negotiations about the league’s plans to restart with a 24-team tournament in two hub cities this summer. The sides have yet to finalize the health and safety protocols for games, or announce the two hub cities.

Sources tell ESPN that Toronto, Edmonton, Las Vegas and Chicago remain in the mix, though there is momentum for two Canadian hub cities to be chosen given the recent spike of COVID-19 cases in several U.S. states.

The NHL and NHLPA are also hoping to announce a CBA extension in the coming days.

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