Updated June 29, 2023 - 5:03 pm
Knights president of hockey operations George McPhee said Thursday on NHL Network that the team appears close to an extension with goaltender Adin Hill. The pending unrestricted free agent played a major role in the team’s Stanley Cup championship, going 11-4 in the playoffs with a .932 save percentage that led all starters.
Terms of the potential contract have yet to be announced. Hill would be free to sign with another team if the agreement is not official by the start of free agency Saturday.
“We were talking to Adin Hill for a while and to (Barbashev), trying to get it done,” McPhee said. “Not sure what we could do. We’re delighted that it looks like we’re there on Adin, and (Barbashev’s) done.”
Their goaltending situation entered the summer in a state of flux with Hill, Laurent Brossoit and Jonathan Quick set to become free agents.
Brossoit began the playoffs as the Knights’ starter before getting injured in the second round against Edmonton. Hill took over the rest of the championship run, with Quick serving as his backup.
Retaining Hill would let the Knights start next season with the same tandem they began the previous one with. Hill could pair with 2023 All-Star Logan Thompson, whom he has known since the two were kids in Calgary. Goaltender Robin Lehner is also under contract but spent last season on long-term injured reserve. His status remains unclear after undergoing one shoulder and two hip surgeries last summer.
Hill could use a solid partner like Thompson to share the net. Hill’s postseason run was impressive, and he finished third in the Conn Smythe voting for playoff MVP, but he’s never played more than 27 games in a season. He will need help to avoid being overtaxed.
Keeping Hill also would let the Knights defend their title with close to the same group they won it with. The only player who appeared in the final and is not likely to return is Smith. Left wing Brett Howden needs a new deal as a restricted free agent, but the team still controls his rights.
“I think we’ll be able to return our team almost intact, which is pretty uncommon for a Stanley Cup winner,” general manager Kelly McCrimmon said Wednesday. “That was our objective as we went into free agency.”