It’s not every day you can re-sign two Los Angeles Kings sixth-round draft picks from consecutive years.
Today was that day, however, as the Vegas Golden Knights re-signed winger Tomas Hyka and defenseman Zac Leslie to one-year deals.
Hyka’s contract pays $650,000 at the NHL level and $250,000 should he stay in the minors. The 25-year-old Czech Republic native notched three points (one goal, two assists) in 10 NHL contests this year, and finished with 15-33—48 in 50 AHL games with the Chicago Wolves.
The young forward was initially signed on June 1, 2017 after three years with BK Mlada Boleslav in the Czech Extraliga, making him one of the first three Golden Knights alongside Reid Duke and Vadim Shipachyov.
Hyka also represented the Czech Republic at the IIHF World Championships a few weeks ago and finished tied for third on the team with six points in eight games, outpacing these current or recent NHL talents: Tomas Plekanec, Radek Faksa, Martin Necas, Andrej Nestrasil, Filip Chytil and Radko Gudas.
Leslie’s contract pays $675,000 at the NHL level and $75,000 in the AHL. The 24-year-old played parts of three seasons with the Ontario Reign, the Kings’ AHL affiliate before coming to the Knights in a trade (for future considerations) on Feb. 5.
While Leslie was serviceable with the Reign (6-27—33 in 121 games), his game his its stride when he came over to the Wolves, where he notched 5-12—17 in 27 regular season contests and three points in three playoff games.
Hyka has a solid chance to make the team out of training camp next year, as he already possesses a NHL-caliber shot and decent puck skills. He was able to prove himself in his 10 NHL outings where he put a few points on the board and drove play at an above-average rate.
Leslie’s ceiling for next season is unlikely to be anything more than a No. 7 defenseman. Having said that, his improvement in the past few months is certainly worth noting, and if head coach Gerard Gallant has taught us anything, it is that if a guy can play, he will play.