Golden Knights sign defenseman Nate Schmidt to 2-year deal following arbitration decision

It’s finally over.

The Vegas Golden Knights have signed defenseman Nate Schmidt to a two-year deal worth $2.225 million average annual value after an arbitration decision was handed down, the team announced Saturday.

NHL insider Elliotte Friedman was the first to report that the independent arbiter ruled in favor of the 26-year-old Schmidt at an AAV of $2.25 million for two years.

The Golden Knights and Schmidt had the arbitration discussions Thursday in Toronto and the decision came Saturday.

The restricted free agent, who was selected by Vegas in the expansion draft from the Washington Capitals, was unable to agree to terms on a new deal with the Golden Knights for the last month, which sent these discussions to arbitration.

Schmidt was one of 30 NHL players to file for arbitration, but was the only player who had his case reach that level. He made $875,000 last year with the Capitals. With the signing, Vegas now has all players picked from the expansion draft under contract for the 2017-18 season.

Schmidt was searching for a one-year deal of $2.75 million, but Vegas wanted to go more years for less money. In the end, both parties got what they wanted. Per the good folks at CapFriendly, Schmidt’s new deal gives Vegas about $5.6 million left in cap space.

It’s a team-friendly deal in the end for the Golden Knights, and Schmidt will get a chance to prove he’s worth much more than that after a 3-14—17 season in 2016-17. But more importantly, Schmidt is finally under contract and this is all over. Let’s all party.