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Neal has offer, Reaves seeks longer contract from Golden Knights

Perron, Sbisa among pending free agents Vegas wants to keep, GM says

by Tracey Myers @TraMyers_NHL / Staff Writer

DALLAS -- The Vegas Golden Knights have offered contracts to forwards James Neal, David Perron and Ryan Reaves and defenseman Luca Sbisa, general manager George McPhee said at the 2018 NHL Draft at the American Airlines Center on Saturday.

Each can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

McPhee said Reaves, who was traded from the Pittsburgh Penguins with a fourth-round pick in this draft for forward Tobias Lindberg on Feb. 23, wants a longer contract than the Golden Knights offered.

"And if they get a longer-term deal they won't be coming back," McPhee said. "In that transaction, we got a player and a fourth-round pick, understanding the player may leave."

Video: McPhee on Golden Knights' priorities after Draft

Vegas has five restricted free agents (forwards William Karlsson, Tomas Nosek and William Carrier, and defensemen Colin Miller and Shea Theodore) and six unrestricted free agents (forwards Neal, Perron, Reaves and Mikhail Grabovski, and defensemen Sbisa and Clayton Stoner). 

Neal, 30, had 44 points (25 goals, 19 assists) in 71 regular-season games and 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 20 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, helping Vegas reach the Stanley Cup Final in its inaugural season. 

Perron, 30, had 66 points (16 goals, 50 assists) in 70 regular-season games and nine points (goal, eight assists) in 15 playoff games.

Reaves, 31, had two assists in 21 regular-season games with Vegas and two goals in 10 playoff games. 

Sbisa, 28, had 14 points (two goals, 12 assists) in 30 regular-season games and four assists in 12 playoff games.

McPhee said he is a big proponent of using analytics in making offers to players.

"There are certain things it tells you and you better pay attention to it," he said. "It makes things easier. Sometimes you feel a certain way about a player and then you get all the data and it makes the decision for you. When it comes to this stuff, it's hard sometimes to take the emotion out of it. But you have to be more analytical and a little more clinical and just pay attention, make decisions according to that, especially in a (salary) cap world. 

"You just don't have the flexibility to do what you'd like to do all the time."

Video: McPhee on upcoming offseason, improving roster

McPhee said the Golden Knights are happy with their results in the draft. They made eight picks, including Russian forward Ivan Morozov in the second round (No. 61). 

Now it's time for Vegas to address the roster for its second season.

"We do the very best we can and we try to put everything into it, the instincts of the front office, the needs of the team, our scouting staff evaluations," McPhee said. "We do our best and there's a line there that, you either have the meeting of the minds and you have a deal or you don't."

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