The Golden Knights will be without defenseman Nate Schmidt for 11 more games.
They’ll then have him for seven more years.
The Knights signed Schmidt to a six-year contract extension Wednesday that runs through the 2024-25 season. The deal is worth $5.95 million annually and prevents the 27-year-old, who is in the midst of a 20-game suspension for violating the NHL’s substance abuse policy, from becoming a free agent this offseason.
The deal is worth $35.7 million in total.
“I just wanted to say I couldn’t be more excited about being a part of this group, this organization and this city, Las Vegas, for the next six years,” Schmidt said in a Twitter video. “I couldn’t think of myself being anywhere else but T-Mobile Arena, City National (Arena), seeing (Knights fans) each and every day. I just want to thank everyone for all the support through everything that’s happened. It means a lot to me.”
Schmidt's words: heartfelt
Vegas' emotions: happy happy happy
Video quality: whatever we just love Nate Schmidt and he's far away rn 😁 pic.twitter.com/OvCDUMnLlK
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) October 25, 2018
Schmidt is coming off a 2017-18 season where he set career highs in games played (76), goals (5), assists (31) and points (36) while leading all Knights skaters in ice time (22:41).
“He’s the kind of defenseman that every team in this league is looking for now,” general manager George McPhee said. “He’s unique in that he’s excellent defensively, he’s become a shutdown defenseman for us playing against the other clubs’ top players, but he also brings a lot of pace to the game and he brings offense.”
Schmidt is eligible to return from his suspension on Nov. 18 at Edmonton. He is practicing with the Vienna Capitals in Austria while away from the team.
“We miss him a lot,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “He’s a big part of our group and we’re real happy to have him long-term.”