While we may not be able to watch the Vegas Golden Knights play hockey this summer, we can watch the business side of hockey play out. After the Stanley Cup Final, the Vegas Golden Knights began offering contract extensions and entry level contracts to their currently reserved players. On July 1st, however, GM George McPhee (GMGM) was able to start signing Free Agents. July 1st also marks the day that unrestricted and restricted free agents could begin taking offers from other teams.
With so many transactions taking place, it can be hard to keep track of who’s coming or going, or how long some of our players will stay. So we’ve decided to do a recap of what’s happened so far in this off-season.
Vegas Golden Knights’ Current Players
Unrestricted Free Agents
- James Neal– The Real Deal wanted to stay in Vegas for the rest of his career, but was reportedly only offered a 3 yr deal with the Knights. Needing a longer contract for his own career safety, he accepted an offer from the Calgary Flames for $28.75M over 5 years. While many Knights fans are upset over the deal, in the end, this move was good for both sides. Neal needed job security, and the Knights needed to focus on the future of the organization. Signing a 30yr old for 5 years is risky enough on its own, but even riskier with Neal since he was a liability defensively with a +/- score of minus -11.
- David Perron– Perron also wanted to stay in Vegas but was not offered the contract that he wanted. While Perron was reliable during the regular season, posting the 4th highest points on the team, he underperformed in the playoffs and was even taken out of the lineup for the Final. In the end, David decided to return to his former team, the St. Louis Blues, for 4yrs @ $4M per year.
- Luca Sbisa– Sbisa was a solid defensemen until an injury kept him out for a large part of the season. He returned toward the end of the season, but didn’t play at the level that was expected of him. He was offered a contract with the VGK, but wasn’t pleased with the offer and decided to leave. As of today, he has not signed with another team.
- Ryan Reaves– Reaves accepted a 2 year, $5.55M contract extension with the VGK.
- Mikhail Grabovski– Haven’t heard of him? That’s because he hasn’t played since 2016 due to injury, but was acquired in a trade with the Islanders in June 2017. Oddly enough Grabovski did not re-sign with the Vegas Golden Knights, but he did sign with a professional soccer team (Minsk Ravens) in his native Belarus.
Restricted Free Agents
- William Karlsson– Karlsson was given a qualifying offer but could not come to an agreement with the team on salary. He has filed for arbitration. The arbitration date will be scheduled for some time between July 20 and Aug. 4. Talks between Karlsson and the team will continue and will most likely be settled before that date. The good news is that by filing, Karlsson has essentially re-signed with the Knights, only his contract terms are up for debate.
- Colin Miller– Miller also filed for arbitration, but ended up signing a contract with the VGK for 4yrs at $3.875M per year.
- Tomas Nosek– Nosek has filed for arbitration. He is in the same position as Karlsson at this point, but should expect to receive a much smaller cut of the salary cap than Wild Bill.
- William Carrier and Shea Theodore- Both of these players have received qualifying offers from the team and therefore must allow the team to match any offers given from other teams. However, neither have signed yet. They are too young to file for arbitration (there are age restrictions for that) and will most likely wait for major purchases to be made from the team before their contracts are fully negotiated.
VGK Prospect Signings:
Hyka, Leslie, Matteau, Pirri, and Max Lagace were all given 1 year contract extensions.
Oscar Dansk signed a 2 yr, $1.35M contract extension.
Entry Level Contract Signings-
- Lucas Elvenes, Ben Jones, and Jake Leschyshyn all received 3 yr contracts.
- Gage Quinney is a Las Vegas native who landed a 2 yr, $1.43M contract.
Incoming VGK Players
- Paul Stastny– Stasny is a forward who played last season with both the Blues and the Jets. He totaled 53 points between them last season. He was signed as a free agent to the Golden Knights for 3 yrs at $19.5M.
- Nic Holden– Holden is a defender from the Bruins. He will likely take the place of Sbisa in the line up. He was signed for 2 yrs at 4.4M.
AHL Incoming Players
- Curtis McKenzie- Forward (2yr contract)
- Alex Gallant- Forward (1yr contract)
- Jimmy Oligny- Defense (1yr contract)
- Zach Fucale-Goaltender (1yr contract)
- Daniel Carr-Forward (1yr contract)
In the end, the Vegas Golden Knights won’t look dramatically different next season. They will have a new second line though. Presumably Tatar and Stastny will fill the roles of Neal and Perron and hopefully the Knights can close their offensive gap on defense.
With last season being an excellent Warm-Up Season, we can expect big things from the team once again.