NHL Free Agency: Golden Knights and Tomas Nosek “close” to a new deal, George McPhee says

The fourth-line winger, who was supposedly set to be an RFA this summer, may soon be back.

The Vegas Golden Knights and forward Tomas Nosek are closing in on a new contract that will keep the fourth-line forward in Vegas, president of hockey operations George McPhee said Thursday.

Nosek was set to be a restricted free agent this upcoming offseason. When asked Tuesday which RFAs received their qualifying offers, McPhee said all of them. McPhee clarified Thursday that he misspoke in that he thought about the guys who were at the NHL level. Four of the Golden Knights’ AHL-level players — Tobias Lindberg, Tomas Hyka, Zach Fucale and Alex Gallant — did not receive qualifying offers.

Nosek was the only NHL-level player to not receive an offer from Vegas, but McPhee said it wasn’t needed.

“We’re so close to a deal on him,” McPhee said. “We’re pretty sure we know where we’re going to end up. We’re still talking, but we’re in a good place there so we didn’t need to do a QO.”

Nosek scored an NHL-career high 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) last season, his second with Vegas since being selected by the Golden Knights in the expansion draft in 2017. It was two points and one game more than the inaugural season, and Nosek has accumulated only 32 penalty minutes in two seasons.

Expectations were high for Nosek coming into 2018-19 after a stellar run in Vegas’ final seven playoff games during their run to the Stanley Cup Final. He scored five points (four goals, one assist) in seven games, including two goals in Game 1 of the Final against Washington. His three in the Final were tied for the most on the team.

Vegas signed him to a one-year, $962,500 deal on July 18.

But while Nosek didn’t produce offensively as expected, he was still a necessity in the 68 games he played this season. The 26-year-old from the Czech Republic has been a vital component to Vegas’ penalty killing unit while being ready in case of injuries to William Carrier or center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare on the fourth line.

The Golden Knights are hovering at $86.2 million in salary and will still need to move a couple of players to get under the salary cap of $81.5 million. Fortunately, to keep a player like Nosek in the fold, it won’t cost more than the less-than $1 million they signed him to last summer. But Vegas has a contingency plan in place with Nosek should they move on from Bellemare.