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Golden Knights Free Agency

Prove Yourself: Eight Golden Knights Entering Contract Years in 22-23



Brett Howden and Cale Makar Vegas Golden Knights Colorado Avalanche (Photo- Vegas Golden Knights via
Brett Howden and Cale Makar Vegas Golden Knights/Colorado Avalanche (Photo- Vegas Golden Knights via

A good thing to keep track of during every NHL season is players that are entering the final year of their contracts. Contract years can lead to a player performing better than usual, trying to earn a new deal. It can also lead to trade speculation if the player is itching to go to a contending team at the deadline.

We have already heard the NHL trade rumors pick up surrounding Matt Dumba and David Pastrnak.

In the cap space era of the NHL, it’s important to analyze which players are on expiring deals during the season to project a team’s upcoming salary cap. We just saw the Colorado Avalanche get ahead of the curb and ink Nathan Mackinnon to a massive eight-year contract extension.

For the Golden Knights, they have their core mostly locked in place. Reilly Smith was the biggest name player that had an expiring contract last season, and he re-upped with the VGK for three years. Jack Eichel, Mark Stone, Shea Theodore, Alex Pietrangelo, and Robin Lehner are all signed by the VGK.

Heading into this season, the Golden Knights only have a handful of notable players entering contract years; eight to be exact They are Phil Kessel, Brett Howden, Adin Hill, Laurent Brossoit, Nolan Patrick, Sakari Manninen, Spencer Foo, and Michael Hutchinson.

Oh, and depending on how long of a deal he signs, Nicolas Hague could be here too.

A Small Bunch

What’s funny with this list is that I see none of these players re-signing with the Golden Knights during the season. Most of them are all on ‘prove yourself’ contracts, as many of these players were 2022 free agent signings.

I could see them re-signing some of these players at the end of the season. But I see no players that general manager Kelly McCrimmon looks at and says he wants to lock up during the season, such as Brayden McNabb, Logan Thompson, and Zach Whitecloud last year.

Show-Me Deals

Phil Kessel comes to Las Vegas looking to prove himself. He’s essentially been forgotten about in the National Hockey League as a big-name player and sat on the free agency market for a little too long.

He signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the VGK and will look to prove himself starting on a line with Jack Eichel and Reilly Smith if training camp lines are anything to go off of.

Brett Howden had what could have been his breakout season come to a dramatic end in 2021-22 when he was stretchered off the ice. Now re-signed to a $1.5 million deal as well, he will look to prove himself and breakout before he becomes a restricted free agent in the summer.

Adin Hill was brought in as goalie insurance for the VGK after it was announced that Robin Lehner would miss the entire season with an injury. Carrying a cap hit of $2.175, Hill is in a contract year already despite never playing a regular season game with the Golden Knights just yet.

Sakari Manninen, Spencer Foo, and Michael Hutchinson are all depth add with short-term contracts looking to crack the NHL lineup. However, they were all cut in the team’s second batch of cuts.

Banged Up

The remaining two names that have expiring contracts next summer are Nolan Patrick and Laurent Brossoit. Both players are in a bit of limbo in their NHL careers due to injury.

Brossoit has not been at training camp for the VGK as he is coming off offseason hip surgery. There’s hope LB can get back and play for the VGK this season. Gear has been spotted in his locker room stall.

Patrick, on the other hand, will not play at all as he is confirmed to miss the entire 2022-23 season. He carries a cap hit of $1.2 million, which will sit on long-term-injured reserve this year before expiring.


There are no big names here in terms of players rooted in the Golden Knights core. But still, important names that could affect the structure of the Golden Knight’s salary cap situation. Say what you want about his salary cap management, but McCrimmon has put together a strong Golden Knights core.

The pieces around the core, such as Howden, Kessel, Hill, and Brossoit, are all playing for new contracts this season and should be given extra attention as such.