The Vegas Golden Knights came into existence last season with almost no long-term commitments. It was obvious from their expansion draft strategy that they were after as much flexibility as possible, and selected several players with expiring deals. Now just two seasons into their history that has completely changed, with long-term extensions handed out like candy for their core pieces. Mark Stone, Reilly Smith, Jon Marchessault, Max Pacioretty, Alex Tuch, Shea Theodore, Colin Miller, Brayden McNabb, Nate Schmidt and Marc-Andre Fleury are all signed through at least 2021-22, and there soon could be another name to add to that group.
William Karlsson, the breakout star of the Golden Knights’ inaugural season, is scheduled to be a restricted free agent for the final time this summer and is arbitration eligible once again. Karlsson told David Schoen of the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he had some preliminary talks with the team before the playoffs and that he hopes to sign a long-term deal with Vegas. If Karlsson went to arbitration the process would only be able to award him a one-year contract, taking him to unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2020.
There were some who expected the Golden Knights to lock up Karlsson last summer, but their decision to wait seems to have paid off. The 26-year old forward could not replicate the 43-goal campaign he had in 2017-18, and finished with just 24 goals and 56 points this season. While that was still good enough for second on the team in scoring, Karlsson is in a much different place when heading into negotiations.