The contract signed by the Vegas Golden Knights and their top line center William Karlsson is like all great deals in that it works for both sides.
Karlsson will earn an average annual value of $5.9 million for the next eight years totaling $47.2 million. That's a lot of money for a 26-year-old and will provide Karlsson with financial security.
Vegas gets a top tier center who drives offense and is responsible in his own zone. The Golden Knights also get cost certainty for a reasonable price at one of the most important positions on the ice.
In two seasons with the Golden Knights, Karlsson has totaled 67 goals and 134 points. He's been among the team's most important and effective players. Signing him was a must for management but with a handful of large contracts coming on stream this season, the price had to work within the restraints of the salary cap. Karlsson's cap hit last season was $5.25 million so retaining him for the next eight seasons with only an increase of $875,000 against the cap is a positive for a team brushing against the top of the allowed salary expenditure.
As the salary cap rises, Karlsson's percentage of that number will shrink making it quite likely that his contract will provide value for its entirety.
Karlsson is one of the smoothest skaters in the NHL and a drop off in his game shouldn't be expected for some time. When his game eventually begins to change, he has the ability to move down in the lineup and still contribute. As the salary cap rises, Karlsson's percentage of that number will shrink making it quite likely that his contract will provide value for its entirety.
Long term contracts are always a bit of a gamble for both team and player. Two sides do their best to find a middle ground and then hope the player performs at or above the level of the contract's cash value.
This is a contract which will certainly begin this way and Karlsson is the type of player who could carry value through the conclusion of the term.
Signing an eight-year deal represents how much Karlsson wanted to remain in Vegas and there a variety of reasons for this.Financially, the lack of state income tax in Nevada is a winner for players. Karlsson will take home close to $1 million more in Vegas than he would in a number of other NHL markets. That's almost $8 million over the course of the deal.
The weather, ease of life in Vegas and the attractions of playing in the entertainment capital of the world are also key factors for players.In a poll conducted by the NHLPA this season, T-Mobile Arena was voted the as the rink with the best atmosphere in the NHL. The quality of ice was also ranked in the top five in the same survey.
The Athletic conducted a survey of NHL players and VGK head coach Gerard Gallant tied with Tampa bench boss Jon Cooper as the coach most players in the NHL would want to play under.
The Golden Knights have established themselves as a repeat playoff team, built a culture players thrive under and created an atmosphere where players and their families can live a comfortable lifestyle.
Paul Stastny was among the most sought after free agents last summer and he chose Vegas. Mark Stone was the clear cut top No. 1 player available at the trade deadline this season and the Golden Knights were his top destination and ultimate choice.More and more, it's becoming evident the Golden Knight are among the top destinations in the NHL for players. No one wants to leave and everyone wants to come.
Vegas now has a slew of centers under contract and in the system. Karlsson, Paul Stastny, Cody Eakin, Erik Haula and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (a pending UFA on July 1) at the NHL level. Cody Glass made huge strides in the AHL during the Calder Cup playoffs and might be ready for the NHL as well. The Golden Knights drafted Peyton Krebs on the weekend and he draws comparisons to NHL centers such as Ryan O'Reilly and Claude Giroux.
Teams try to build down the middle from the goalie out. Vegas has one of the NHL's top netminders in Marc-Andre Fleury and a defense core featuring Nate Schmidt and Shea Theodore.
With the signing of Karlsson and the development of Glass, the Golden Knights are growing increasingly rich at center ice, as well.
Signing Karlsson also gives Vegas a plethora of young players who are locked up for five years or more. Mark Stone, Jonathan Marchessault, Karlsson, Shea Theodore, Nate Schmidt and Alex Tuch now form a core of Golden Knights who will be with the club well into the future and all with a cap hit under $6 million.
The Golden Knights, in no small part due to the signing of Karlsson remain a contender. And will be so for many years into the future.