Center William Karlsson was one of three Golden Knights to file for salary arbitration prior to Thursday’s league deadline.
Defenseman Colin Miller and forward Tomas Nosek also were among 44 players who filed, which is standard procedure for restricted free agents who remain unsigned for next season.
By filing for arbitration, Karlsson can’t be signed to an offer sheet by another team, meaning he will return to the Knights barring a trade.
Karlsson can continue to negotiate with the Knights on a long-term contract from now until his hearing.
Arbitration hearings take place from July 20 to Aug. 4 in Toronto.
If the two sides are unable to come to an agreement before then, an arbitrator would determine Karlsson’s salary and the team would select a one- or two-year contract.
Players often reach a settlement on a new contract before their case is heard. Of the 30 players who filed last year, 27 settled prior to their hearing and two settled after their case was heard but before the verdict.
The Knights are projected to have close to $19 million in salary cap space, according to CapFriendly.com.
Karlsson made $1 million last season, but he represents a unique case after finishing third in the league with 43 goals and winning the Lady Byng Trophy as the most gentlemanly player.
The 25-year-old had 18 goals in his first three NHL seasons, and the Knights must decide whether to offer Karlsson a long-term contract based on his breakout performance or wait to see if he can replicate his career season.
By going through a potentially contentious arbitration hearing, the Knights risk losing Karlsson when he is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in 2020.
Karlsson would command a massive contract should he come continue to produce like a No. 1 center over the next two seasons.
Miller, 25, is due a raise after he completed a two-year, $2 million deal. He led the Knights’ defensemen in goals (10) and points (41).
Nosek posted seven goals and 15 points in 67 games playing on the Knights’ fourth line. He added four goals in the postseason, including three in the Stanley Cup Final.
Nosek finished a two-year contract that came with a $612,500 salary cap hit.