Golden Knights, William Karlsson avoid arbitration, agree to terms on 1-year contract

Wild Bill’s finally getting paid.

For the last month or so, all the chatter surrounding the Golden Knights was centered around William Karlsson’s arbitration hearing. And it never even ended up happening.

Karlsson and the Golden Knights agreed to terms on a one-year contract worth $5.25 million early Saturday morning to avoid arbitration, per NHL insider Elliotte Friedman. Karlsson will once again become a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration eligibility. In other words, Wild Bill is being given another year to prove that his breakout campaign wasn’t merely a fluke.

It was reported Thursday that Vegas had initially offered Karlsson $3.5 million per season, a full $3 million less than what the Golden Knights’ leading point-getter was seeking. In the end, though, Karlsson did end up getting a significant pay raise after making just $1 million last season.

With previous career highs of just nine goals and 19 points, Karlsson exploded for 43 goals and 78 points in 82 games last season. He also led the NHL with a plus-49 rating — a superb mark despite plus-minus being somewhat of a flawed statistic. That said, while Karlsson’s breakout campaign was impressive, he had never reached the 30-point threshold prior to the 2017-18 season, making Vegas’ hesitation to sign the 25-year-old to a lucrative long-term deal at least understandable.

Karlsson is now the fourth-highest paid player on the Knights’ roster behind Paul Stastny (6.5M AAV), Marc-Andre Fleury (5.75M AAV) and Tomas Tatar (5.3M AAV).