They say Vegas never sleeps. Whoever “they” are, they weren’t wrong.
The Golden Knights announced Wednesday night that defenseman Nate Schmidt has signed a six-year extension with an AAV of $5.95 million that will keep him in Vegas through the 2024-25 season. Vegas made the announcement less than an hour after its shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
“Nate’s turned out to be a pretty good defenseman for us,” general manager George McPhee said in a press conference. “There’s still a lot of room for growth for Nate. He’s the kind of defenseman every team in this league is looking for. He’s unique and excellent defensively. He’s become a shutdown defenseman for us.”
Schmidt, currently nine games into his 20-game suspension for a PED violation, is the latest in a string of Golden Knights players that have signed long-term contract extensions early on in the season. Forward Alex Tuch recently committed to the Golden Knights for seven years, while defenseman Shea Theodore was also locked up for seven years back in September.
It seems as though McPhee prefers to get these contracts done early, especially in light of what happened with Theodore, who was without a contract during most of training camp.
“We’re getting some very good guys under contract,” McPhee told reporters.
“I like that we’re getting a lot of it done now so that we can focus on the rest of this season. It makes the summers easier in forecasting what you want to do. ... It’s important for us to be aggressive and get it done early and focus on this hockey team, and getting healthy, and getting going.”
This deal makes Schmidt the highest-paid Golden Knights defenseman. The 27-year-old scored five goals and 36 points last season, both career highs.
“Nate’s in a good place,” said McPhee. “A good guy for us, and a great guy in this community.”