The Vegas Golden Knights and Alec Martinez agreed to a new three-year contract on Tuesday, which will pay the top-pair defenseman around $5 million for three years and close the loop on the Golden Knights’ most pressing offseason need.
The story was first reported by the Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli on Twitter.
But now the clock starts ticking on the Golden Knights cap issues.
Martinez was easily the best fit for the Golden Knights compared to the potential free-agent class, which is shallow at best. The signing solidifies the biggest hole in their lineup and will allow GM Kelly McCrimmon to begin working on the smaller lineup pieces.
Last season, Martinez posted his second-best career totals with 32 points, including 23 assists. Both marks were just short of his career year with the LA Kings in 2016-17 when he scored 39 points. Martinez further showed his value to the team when he played with a broken foot in the playoffs.
According to our friends at PuckPedia.com, the contract will push the Vegas Golden Knights about $800,000 over the salary cap, with 21 of 23 contract slots filled. Many teams carry only 22 contracts to save money, but McCrimmon is still one player short and over the limit.
Per NHL CBA rules, teams can exceed the salary cap by 10% during the offseason, but the situation clearly creates a need for the Golden Knights to shed salary.
Sportsnet reporter extraordinaire Elliotte Friedman reported that a deal for one of the Vegas Golden Knights’ goalies fell through on Sunday. Friedman believed it was either Marc-Andre Fleury to Chicago or Robin Lehner to New Jersey.
One of the goalies is the most likely candidate to be re-homed in a salary-saving move. Fleury, of course, won the Vezina Trophy last season, but he is 36-years-old. Lehner, 30, has four more years remaining on his contract.
The National Hockey Now network has not confirmed the report or learned which trade didn’t reach the finish line. Our New Jersey sources were mum on the subject.
The move will keep the top two defensive pairings together, Martinez with Alex Pietrangelo and Brayden McNabb on the left side of Shea Theodore.
The Golden Knights have not yet announced the signing, but that could be anytime today or even later this week as Martinez is officially able to sign the contract.