Noah Hanifin

Noah Hanifin signed an eight-year, $58.8 million contract with the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday. It has an average annual value of $7.35 million.

The 27-year-old defenseman has 44 points (13 goals, 31 assists) in 77 games this season, including 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 16 games since he was acquired from the Calgary Flames in a three-team trade on March 6. He could have become an unrestricted free agent after the season.

Noah Hanifin signs 8-year extension with Vegas

"A lot of things went into the decision," Hanifin said Friday. "But I think ever since I came here, since my first day, it's been a great place to come to work. It's a great organization, great players. It's just an awesome culture, and they want to win.

"Guys push each other, and as an athlete, that's something you want to be a part of. It was a no-brainer for me once the opportunity arose."

Selected by the Carolina Hurricanes with the No. 5 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, Hanifin has 283 points (62 goals, 221 assists) in 675 regular-season games for the Golden Knights, Flames and Hurricanes, and eight assists in 27 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

"When I came here, you know, I wasn't really thinking contract," he said, "I was just thinking about settling in, getting adjusted to a new team, you know, help the team win and play the best I can. If something worked out, great. I would be really happy about that, which it did. 

"So it went pretty smoothly. It happened relatively quickly, and I couldn't be more excited just to be here for the next eight years. I've got to give it my all." 

The Golden Knights (42-28-8) hold the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference and are three points behind the Los Angeles Kings for third in the Pacific Division. independent correspondent Paul Delos Santos contributed to this report