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The NHL's Biggest Contracts

Wayne Gretzky
Photo: Manny Millan/SI

Wayne Gretzky

1979: 21 years, $21 million ($1m per)

The Great One's first big contract, signed on his 18th birthday -- after he was sold by the WHA's Indianapolis Racers -- was a personal services deal with Oilers owner Peter Pocklington designed to keep Gretzky out of a draft pool when the WHA collapsed and some of its teams were absorbed by the NHL. The pact made Gretzky a great bargain during his record-shattering years in Edmonton. After Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles in 1988, Kings owner Bruce McNall gave him a new three-year deal worth a reported $25.5 million.

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