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Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt hopes to avoid arbitration

Nate Schmidt is excited about being a Golden Knight. The question is how much will the 26-year-old defenseman be paid?

Schmidt, the Knights’ lone remaining restricted free agent, is scheduled for an arbitration hearing Aug. 3. His agent, Matt Keator of Olympic Sports Management, said he’s optimistic both sides can avoid arbitration.

“We’ve had positive discussions with Vegas,” Keator said Wednesday. (General manager) George (McPhee) and Andrew (Lugerner, director of hockey legal affairs) have been totally professional to deal with.”

Schmidt, who was left unprotected by the Washington Capitals and was claimed by the Knights in the expansion draft, made $875,000 last year. He was tended a qualifying offer by the Capitals prior to being selected by the Knights, so it’s the Knights who have to close the deal with Schmidt.

“Nobody wants to go through arbitration,” Keator said. “We’ll see how it plays out.”

Schmidt played 60 games for the Capitals last season, scoring three goals and adding 14 assists. In four NHL seasons, the former University of Minnesota product, who was signed by McPhee as an undrafted free agent in 2013 when McPhee was GM of the Caps, has played 200 games, scored eight goals and has 35 assists.

Practice facility naming rights

Majority owner Bill Foley said an internet report that City National Bank will have the naming rights to the team’s practice facility at Downtown Summerlin is premature.

“We’ve had a lot of meaningful conversations with City National,” Foley said. “They’re a great bank. But we don’t have a signed deal in place yet.”

In addition, a bank spokesman said, “City National has no comment at this time regarding this story.”

When the $24 million project was announced last November, Foley said he expected the two-rink facility, which will also serve as the team’s headquarters, to have a corporate title sponsor. At the time, Foley did not know what company would serve in that capacity.

The facility on Pavilion Center Drive, which will include a bar and restaurant and will serve as the home rink for the UNLV hockey club, is scheduled to have its soft opening Aug. 15. City National, which is based out of Los Angeles and has $45 billion in assets, has four locations in Las Vegas, including one in Summerlin less than two miles from the practice facility.

The website SinBin.vegas first reported the news late Tuesday.

Cox-AT&T update

There’s nothing new to report on the negotiations between Cox Communications and AT&T Sportsnet, which is the television home for the Golden Knights.

The two sides are trying to work a deal to bring the channel to the Las Vegas cable TV system in time for the start of the season Oct. 6. AT&T Sportsnet already has channels on DirecTV and Dish Network.

“I haven’t talked to the AT&T folks in a while,” Foley said. “But I know they’re motivated to getting a deal done and I don’t anticipate any problems having a deal in place in time for the season.”

Foley added that any decisions on its broadcast teams for television and radio are still a few weeks away. He did say that Gary Lawless, who the team hired a couple of months ago, will be involved in the telecasts in some capacity, probably as a between-periods host.

Rookie scrimmages

The Golden Knights rookies will scrimmage the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, Sept. 12 and Wednesday, Sept. 13 at the Kings’ practice facility in El Segundo, California.

Game times are 5 p.m. on the 12th and 10 a.m. on the 13th. The scrimmages at the Toyota Sports Center are expected to be open to the public with ticket information to be announced by the Kings at a later date.

The Knights’ rookie camp opens Sept. 7.

More Golden Knights: Follow all of our Golden Knights coverage online at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow @stevecarprj on Twitter.

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