The NHL free agency market opened on October 9, 2020, and the Vegas Golden Knights were expected to make big moves in order to stay cap compliant. Some big names were thrown around, and rumors circulated. However, these are the facts for the Golden Knights as we know, heading out of Week 1 of free agency.
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Chandler Stephenson was given a four-year contract extension with an AAV of $2.75M.
Tomas Nosek was re-signed with a slight salary raise to $1.25M for one year.
Gage Quinney, Reid Duke, and Jimmy Schuldt were each given one-year contracts worth $700,000.
Paul Stastny was traded back to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for Carl Dahlstrom (D) and a conditional 2022 fourth-round pick. Stastny carried a cap hit of $6.5M.
Nate Schmidt was traded to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a third-round draft pick in 2022.
Schmidt and Stastny are both incredible players and will be deeply missed by Vegas Golden Knights fans.
Free Agency Acquisitions
Alex Pietrangelo – Pietrangelo has been noted as being a top 10 defenseman in the NHL! He signed a seven-year contract with an AAV of $8.8M.
Tomas Jurco– Forward. He signed a one-year contract worth an AAV of $700,000.
Danny O’Regan– Forward. He signed one-year contract worth an AAV of $700,000.
The following players were not immediately given qualifying offers to re-sign with the Golden Knights. They are Unrestricted Free Agents, and can therefore sign with any team should an offer entice them.
Nick Cousins – Cousins signed a two-year deal with the Nashville Predators for $1.5 million AAV.
Deryk Engelland – Vegas’ hometown boy was not given a qualifying offer. As of Monday (October 12), he was weighing his options to play elsewhere. Should he elect to hang up his skates, a job would be waiting for him with the Golden Knights.
Jon Merrill – Merrill heads to his childhood team, the Detroit Red Wings, for one year at $925,000.
Curtis McKenzie – McKenzie signed a one-year, two-way contract with the St. Louis Blues. He’s spend the last two seasons playing for the Chicago Wolves, and it’s expected that he’ll continue to play in the AHL for the Blues’ affiliate team.
Brett Lernout, Valentin Zykov, Jaycob Megna, and Garret Sparks also were not given qualifying offers to stay with the Golden Knights (they were playing for the Knights’ AHL affiliate). This isn’t to say they won’t re-sign, but they are able to head to another team if an offer comes down the pipeline.
After signing Lehner to a five-year contract with an AAV of $5M, many wondered what would happen to Marc-Andre Fleury. Luckily, GM Kelly McCrimmon said in a press conference that they will continue to have the Fleury/Lehner tandem next season.
As we head into Week 2, the Golden Knights are still slightly over cap space, with two slots sitting empty on the roster. Should the Knights make any big moves, VGK Ladies will keep you updated.