Forty-five years ago today, Bobby Orr inked a five-year contract with the Boston Bruins that made him the highest paid player in league history.
It was quite the pay bump for the twenty-three year old. It's believed that Orr had been making between $35,000 and $40,000 the previous season, quite the rebate for the league’s premier defenseman. With his new five year deal paying him $200,000 per season, Orr became the league’s first million dollar player, and rightfully so. He had just wrapped up a 139 point season and bagged his fourth-straight Norris Trophy.
The pride of Parry Sound, Ontario certainly lived up to his contract. In the next four seasons, Orr racked up 144 goals and 331 assists in 293 games. He finished top three in league scoring during those years and nobody scored my points than him in 1974-75. An integral part of Boston’s 1972 championship team, Orr led the postseason in scoring and notched the Stanley Cup winning goal against the New York Rangers in game six of the Final. Unfortunately, by the 1975-76 campaign, knee injuries had begun taking their toll on the eight-time Norris Trophy winner and he was limited to just ten games that year.
To put Bobby Orr's milestone contract into perspective, let's assume he was a product and not a hockey player. For the sake of argument, let's call it the Orr 1000, a machine that produced NHL assists and Hart Trophies. If the Orr 1000 cost $1M in 1971, using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) Inflation Calculator from the U.S. Department of Labor, we can estimate that its buying power in 2016 would actually be $5.9M. If you're the Boston Bruins and you're getting Bobby Orr for a shade under six million in today's NHL, that's one heck of a deal.