Nate Schmidt was traded to the Vancouver Canucks by the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday for a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.
The 29-year-old defenseman scored 31 points (seven goals, 24 assists) in 59 regular-season games and nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 20 postseason games for Vegas last season.
The Golden Knights defeated the Canucks in the Western Conference Second Round in seven games.
"It's a fresh wound right now, so emotions are running in every direction," Schmidt said Tuesday. "It was hard given the previous communications of the past (from management) versus what has happened, but [it's] a new beginning and [I'm] really looking forward to it."
[RELATED: 2020-21 NHL Trade Tracker]
Schmidt has five seasons remaining on a six-year contract he signed with the Golden Knights on Oct. 25, 2018 ($5.95 million average annual value).
The trade was announced by Vancouver one minute before Vegas announced it had signed defenseman Alex Pietrangelo to a seven-year, $61.6 million contract ($8.8 million AAV).
"I've said to you before that this game, this business, the job that I have, often requires really hard decisions on good people," Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. "I've never worked with a finer man in my career than Nate, an incredibly popular player in our community, an incredible ambassador, community person that did charity work, a top-pairing defenseman on our team for his entire three years. There is only one scenario, one situation, where we would have considered a trade involving Nate Schmidt, and that was exactly the situation that presented ourselves with the opportunity to add Alex to our team."
Video: Nate Schmidt talks about being traded
Schmidt was selected by Vegas from the Washington Capitals at the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft. He has scored 140 points (29 goals, 111 assists) in 396 NHL games with the Golden Knights and Capitals.
"Last night was hard," Schmidt said. "You put down some roots in a place. You are there from the beginning, which is always something special. Not very many guys can say they've been in a place from the ground up but we just played the Canucks about a month ago, and there was a buzz about them in the bubble, a buzz about their young players and the talent they have, especially up front, and then on the back end with Quinn Hughes. Sprinkle that in with some veteran guys that have been around the League, and you start to see when you play them you are one goal away the other way from them moving on and from Vegas going home.
"So, you understand that this team has got a tremendous view, and a team that went down 3-1 in the series and never allowed us in Vegas to just take over the game and said, 'OK, that's it, it's over, we're going to lay down in front of you and move on,' and that's the kind of team you want to be a part of. You want to be a part of a group of guys that will fight for each other tooth and nail all the way down to the end, and with each passing hour you get more and more excited about the prospect and the idea that's being a Vancouver Canuck."
NHL.com columnist Nicholas J. Cotsonika contributed to this report