There are only two pressing holes in the Vegas Golden Knights lineup. The Golden Knights need a third-line LW, and far more importantly, they need a top-pairing defenseman. Sure, the Golden Knights could use a few tweaks or upgrades, but the biggest TBD in the lineup is Alec Martinez.
Martinez, 33, is a UFA defenseman just six days away from seeing what the NHL market will bear.
As Vegas Hockey Now has chronicled, the left-defense market is paper-thin this summer, and one prominent name just came off the board. The Seattle Kraken signed Dallas Stars d-man Jamie Oleksiak to a five-year contract with a $4.6 AAV.
That’s a lot of coin, and Martinez probably wants his share, too.
Martinez has a contract offer he's mulling over from Vegas. The pending UFA D has to decide whether he wants to sign it or decide to go to market. I think he really likes it in Vegas, but likely more $$ avail on open market. We shall see. https://t.co/dpTcuz6SLQ
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) July 22, 2021
The former LA Kings rearguard who spent the first 11 years of his career in LA just completed his second year with the Golden Knights. He sprang for a career-high 32 points (9-23-32) and filled top-pair minutes.
Such defensemen aren’t usually cheap, nor are they easy to find. Martinez’s six-year, $24 million contract expires next week, and Alec Martinez will be free to sign with the highest bidder.
Given the market with Seattle established for Adam Larsson ($4 million AAV) and Oleksiak ($4.6 million AAV), Martinez will likely command a similar dollar figure, though probably not a four or five-year term.
According to PuckPedia.com, the Vegas Golden Knights have just over $4.3 million in cap space but only 20 contracts on the books. Recently acquired center Nolan Patrick figures to take Tomas Nosek’s spot in the middle of the fourth line. Patrick is an RFA.
NHL free agency begins at noon EST on July 28. The annual free agent frenzy will be somewhat diminished again this season because of the flat salary cap as more teams come up against it.