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Golden Knights re-sign restricted free agent forward

Updated August 5, 2022 - 7:04 pm

The Golden Knights took care of one of the last items off their offseason checklist Friday.

The Knights re-signed right wing Keegan Kolesar to a three-year contract with a $1.4 million average annual value. The deal avoids a scheduled Wednesday arbitration hearing for Kolesar. He would have only been eligible for a one- or two-year contract if it had taken place.

Kolesar, 25, scored a career-high seven goals and 24 points in 77 games last season. He was a fixture in the bottom six and finished sixth on the Knights in appearances. He also led the team in penalty minutes with 68, in large part because of his eight fighting majors. Defenseman Ben Hutton was the only other Knight who had more than two major penalties, with four.

Kolesar was acquired as a prospect from Columbus in 2017 for a second-round pick. He made his NHL debut against the Blue Jackets on Jan. 11, 2020, in his only appearance of the 2019-20 season. He then made the Knights’ 2021 opening-day roster and scored 13 points in 44 games.

Kolesar had surgery this offseason after missing the final three games of the regular season with a lower-body injury, but was healthy enough to participate in the “Battle for Vegas” charity softball game July 18.

The Knights have three remaining restricted free agents to sign: defenseman Nic Hague and centers Nicolas Roy and Jake Leschyshyn. They have approximately $4.3 million in usable cap space with 10 forwards, six defensemen and three goaltenders under contract, and they could add more if center Nolan Patrick or goaltenders Robin Lehner and Laurent Brossoit need to start the season on long-term injured reserve.

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

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