Now that Brayden McNabb has been inked to a four-year contract extension, it’s only fair to wonder who the Vegas Golden Knights will sign to a contract extension next. Vegas has a lot of money to throw around and they’ll surely continue to look at in-house assets to lock up for the foreseeable future.
So which impending free agents could Vegas be looking to extend? Let’s start with the obvious.
Perron has been a revelation for the Golden Knights. The 29-year-old forward is well on his way to one of the best seasons of his career, having already scored six goals and 19 points in just 21 games.
Since being out of the lineup with an upper body injury (thanks a lot, Timo Meier), his importance to the Golden Knights has only been magnified. For the first time in franchise history, the Golden Knights were shut out against the Dallas Stars Tuesday night. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Vegas had a hard time scoring with Perron out of the lineup.
Perron’s name has reportedly been thrown around in trade chatter, but he’s proven to be more valuable than anyone expected going into the season. It wouldn’t be a total shock if Vegas opted to bypass the outside offers and lock him up to a new deal.
What a year it’s been for Marchessault. After three seasons of trying to earn a full-time role with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the 5-foot-9, 174-pound forward exploded last year for 30 goals and 51 points with the Florida Panthers.
Now he’s in a Golden Knights uniform and absolutely tearing it up.
Marchessault, the NHL’s reigning first star of the week, has registered eight goals and 21 points this season and has cemented himself as one of the Golden Knights’ most dynamic playmakers. Still just 26 years old, Marchessault is set to enter the prime of his career and is due for a massive payday.
So should the Knights pay him?
Considering his age, skill and colorful personality, they shouldn’t even think twice.
During the 2015-16 season, Karlsson recorded a career-high nine goals in 81 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Just 23 games into his first season with the Golden Knights, he’s already scored 13.
The Golden Knights struck gold with Karlsson and should be clamoring to sign the 24-year-old to a contract extension.
Unlike Marchessault and Perron, though, Karlsson will be a restricted free agent when the new league year begins. He is also eligible for salary arbitration, so the Golden Knights have the freedom to wait until the offseason to sign him to an extension. But regardless of the fashion in which it’s conducted, Vegas would be nuts not to lock up the blooming forward sooner rather than later.
Theodore is quietly putting together an impressive campaign as a 22-year-old defenseman. Albeit a small sample size, Theodore has registered five points in nine games in a Golden Knights uniform and seems to be earning the trust of head coach Gerard Gallant.
In Vegas’ last six games, Theodore has logged over 20 minutes of ice time in each contest — a major improvement from the 15:09 of ice time he averaged in his first three games as a Golden Knight.
Like Karlsson, Theodore will be a restricted free agent in the offseason. Having just become old enough to consume alcohol a little over a year ago, Theodore is already showing glimpses of an eventual star defenseman. He’s young, cheap and has sky-high potential. It’s almost a foregone conclusion that Vegas will try to retain him.
Miller leads all Golden Knights defensemen with 11 points (three goals, eight assists) through 23 games. He also ranks second amongst all Golden Knights skaters (trailing only Marchessault) with a 54.06 Corsi For percentage at even strength.
Miller is just 25 years old and is on pace to shatter his career-highs in goals, assists and points as he continues to lead all Golden Knights skaters in ice time on the man advantage.
That being said, he will likely be eyeing a significant pay raise once his contract expires. Miller’s well-rounded game, however, will be well worth the cost for the Golden Knights as they look to further improve their blueline for the long haul.