Zach Whitecloud signed a two-year, $1.45 million contract with the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday. It has an average annual value of $725,000.
The undrafted defenseman could have been a restricted free agent after the season. He signed a three-year, entry-level contract with Vegas on March 8, 2018.
"It's exciting," Whitecloud said. "Obviously very happy to tell my parents and friends. I'll be excited with it for a little bit, but then obviously there is more work to get done."
Whitecloud has one assist in 17 NHL games for the Golden Knights and 35 points (eight goals, 27 assists) in two seasons with Chicago of the American Hockey League.
"Zach has shown the ability to settle in, adjust to his surroundings and play a very efficient, quiet game," general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. "That's really what the makeup of Zach's game looks like and that's what he's continued to work on and continued to perfect and now is doing at a level that has made himself an NHL player."
Whitecloud entered college at 20 years old and played two seasons at Bemidji State University, where he had 36 points (seven goals, 29 assists) in 77 games.
"I wasn't the kid that was going to jump right into the NHL and I knew that," Whitecloud said. "I knew that I needed some seasoning in the American Hockey League. They have a great coach there in Rocky Thompson. Obviously when I stepped into Chicago my first year, we had a terrific team that created a good atmosphere for developing and getting better. For all of us young guys, even some of the older guys, to be true pros and learn how to do that at that level.
"I knew my time was coming to eventually step into the NHL. I made sure I was ready and ready to take advantage of the opportunity and now here we are in the scenario I'm in, obviously re-signing. I'm extremely, again, happy and humble to be able to continue to get better in this organization and helping them win the Stanley Cup."