General manager Kelly McCrimmon has a strong core in place through the 2026-27 season to compete for more Stanley Cups. Below are six unrestricted free agents after the 2023-24 season that McCrimmon will have to make tough decisions on with a projection on what happens once their contract expires.
Jonathan Marchessault: What exactly are 348 regular-season points and 71 playoff points worth to McCrimmon? Marchessault has had a great six-year run in Vegas, but he will be 33-years-old when his contract expires next year. Will Marchessault be traded at some point during the next season? Remember, Reilly Smith was traded in favor of a younger player in the midst of his prime in Ivan Barbashev.
Projection: Marchessault is set up for success on the top line with Jack Eichel and Barbashev. $5 million per year is a steal for a player of Marchessault’s caliber and accolades. It is logical to assume a regression is looming for Marchessault as he enters his mid 30’s. If Marchessault is willing to accept a three-year deal for the $17 million range, he should be able to remain a Golden Knight. But if things do not go well for the Golden Knights in the 2023-24 season, expect McCrimmon to consider trading Marchessault near the trade deadline. It all depends on when the two sides begin to negotiate.
Chandler Stephenson: Another bargain find for the Golden Knights. Stephenson signed a four-year $11 million contract with the Golden Knights in 2020. In the first three seasons of his contract with the Golden Knights, Stephenson has averaged 60 points. Next season will be extremely important to Stephenson as it could lead to the biggest contract of his career.
Projection: Mark Stone is at his best when Stephenson is his center. Stone is signed through the 2026-27 season. Expect McCrimmon to do his best to lock up Stephenson for a three-year extension in the $14 million to $15 million range.
William Carrier: Health has been an issue for Carrier as he’s been on the ice for approximately 72% of the regular season games through his six-year run with the Golden Knights. Carrier has found a spot comfortably on the fourth line. The 2022-23 season could have been a career year for Carrier as he was on pace for a twenty-goal season. However, injuries limited carrier to appearing in 56 of 82 regular season games.
Projection: Carrier’s production is reasonable for someone making $1.4 million per year. Health and production during the 2023-24 season will determine if Carrier gets another contract offer from McCrimmon. Unfortunately, Carrier has a hard time staying healthy and there is a good chance next season will be his final season with the Golden Knights.
Michael Amadio: Amadio joined the Golden Knights via waiver claim during the 2022 season. At a cap hit of $762,500, Amadio has been a bargain. Amadio has been on all four forward lines and is the type of player every team needs.
Projection: McCrimmon will find a way to lock up Amadio for up to a three-year extension in the $4.5 million range.
Alec Martinez: The value and experience Martinez brings to the Golden Knights is undeniable. The biggest question is how much does he have left in the tank?
Projection: Martinez will be 36-years-old when his current contract expires and retirement has to be on his mind. Unless a steep discount was agreed upon to return for one or two more seasons, expect the Golden Knights to move on from Martinez. This would be a good spot to groom for a player like Brayden Pachal or Kaedan Korczak.
Ben Hutton: The 2023-24 season will be the ninth season for Hutton. It is nice to have a guy like Hutton around who is experienced and can be inserted into any of the three defensive lines with confidence.
Projection: If Hutton is willing to stay in Vegas for anything less than $1 million per year, McCrimmon will lock him up for at least two more seasons. A lot depends on Hutton at this point. Will he want to try his luck elsewhere, somewhere he has a chance to be an everyday player?