William Karlsson, Golden Knights Agree to New 8-Year, $47.2M Contract Extension

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2019

Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson (71) warms up before an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

The Vegas Golden Knights announced Monday that they agreed to an eight-year, $47.2 million contract extension with forward William Karlsson.

Karlsson, a 26-year-old native of Sweden, has played a significant role in the Golden Knights reaching the playoffs in each of their first two years of existence.

Last season, he registered 24 goals and 32 assists in 82 regular-season games, and he added two goals and three assists in seven playoff contests.

For as productive as Karlsson was during the 2018-19 campaign, it actually represented a drop-off. During the Golden Knights' inaugural season, he racked up 43 goals and 35 assists in 82 games, and his plus-49 rating led the NHL. He also put up 15 points in 20 playoff games, as Vegas reached the Stanley Cup Final during its inaugural season.

Jesse Granger of The Athletic believes that both Karlsson and the Golden Knights will benefit from the new contract:

Jesse Granger @JesseGranger_

Fantastic deal for the Golden Knights, who get one of the best defensive centers in hockey who has the upside to score 30+ goals/year. Great deal for William Karlsson, who finally gets his long-term deal, and in Las Vegas where he absolutely loves it. Well done by both sides

Meanwhile, Justin Emerson of the Las Vegas Sun feels the Golden Knights got a bargain by signing Karlsson to a deal that will pay him $5.9 million annually:

Justin Emerson @J15Emerson

The Golden Knights getting William Karlsson at eight years for under $6 million per year is...kind of unbelievable really. What a deal

It is difficult to argue with that logic given some of the contracts that have been handed out recently.

The Buffalo Sabres signed 27-year-old winger Jeff Skinner to an eight-year, $72 million deal earlier this month on the heels of him netting 40 goals in a season for the first time in his career. He also matched his career high in points with 63, which is 15 fewer than Karlsson recorded two seasons ago.

The Philadelphia Flyers signed forward Kevin Hayes to a seven-year, $50 million contract last week. Hayes has never scored more than 25 goals in a season, and the 27-year-old set a career high with 55 points last season.

Given Karlsson's mix of youth, goal-scoring ability and defensive acumen, the Golden Knights did well to sign a complete player to such a team-friendly contract.

He was an absolute steal in the expansion draft, and he will have an opportunity to continue developing. Along with Karlsson, many of the Golden Knights' other key players are under contract for the next three or more seasons, including forwards Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith and Alex Tuch; defensemen Nate Schmidt, Shea Theodore and Colin Miller; and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

With that type of continuity, the Golden Knights should be a perennial contender in the Western Conference.