The Vegas Golden Knights have announced a pair of three-year contract extensions, keeping Jake Leschyshyn and Paul Cotter in the organization for the next few seasons. Both players will earn the league minimum in all three years (PuckPedia adds that Cotter’s first year will be a two-way contract). Leschyshyn was a restricted free agent, meaning his deal starts in 2022-23, while Cotter was going into the last season of his entry-level contract, meaning this extension starts in 2023-24.
Leschyshyn, 23, was part of the Golden Knights’ inaugural draft class, selected 62nd overall in 2017. He Played 41 games for the team this season in his first taste of NHL action and managed six points in the process. The minor league portion of his year was much more productive with 27 points in 34 games but he enters next season in the mix for a full-time bottom-six role with Vegas.
While the team does have some forward prospects with a bit higher ceiling – namely Brendan Brisson – Leschyshyn represents a nice homegrown talent that can help fill out the lineup in the years to come. Any regular playing for the league minimum is providing surplus value, meaning if there can be any increase in production out of the young center, this contract could actually be quite a bargain for the Golden Knights moving forward.
The same might be said about Cotter, who managed to make it to the NHL for seven games this year and scored two goals in the process. Given this will be his age-23 season (he turns 23 in November), he is signing away nearly all of his restricted free agent years at the league minimum. It gives him some nice security to have one-way contracts in 2024-25 and 2025-26 but if he can take another step forward that too could be a nice bargain for the Golden Knights.
Cotter had 20 goals and 35 points in 59 games this season for the Henderson Silver Knights, while also racking up 62 penalty minutes (including two fighting majors).