The Vegas Golden Knights have signed one of their final three restricted free agents, inking William Carrier to a two-year contract worth a total of $1.45MM. Carrier was not eligible to file for salary arbitration this year, and will still be an RFA at the end of this deal.
The 23-year old Carrier was an interesting expansion selection for the Golden Knights, given that the Buffalo Sabres had left Linus Ullmark unprotected and available in the draft. Buffalo sent Vegas a sixth-round pick to make the decision for them, which still appears to be a good value for the Sabres to keep their goaltender of the future. While the Golden Knights certainly didn’t have a lack of goaltending options in the draft, it could have been useful to have Ullmark around when the team was down to their fifth-string netminder at one point this season.
Instead, Carrier was the pick and he ended up playing in 37 games for the Golden Knights during the regular season. Throughout those games he brought effective energy and physicality, though he recorded just three points and was held scoreless in 10 playoff games. Vegas didn’t rely on their fourth line to score, but you still would have liked to see a bit of offensive upside from a player who was once a second-round pick. Carrier now has just 11 points in 88 total NHL games, but will be asked to provide a big body for the fourth line for at least the next two seasons. His deal does not appear to be a two-way contract meaning he’ll earn the same amount in the NHL and AHL, and he is eligible to be claimed off waivers if the team tries to send him to the minor leagues.
The Golden Knights have plenty of cap space remaining for next season, but still have work to do before their roster is complete. William Karlsson and Shea Theodore are their final two unsigned players, and both are candidates for long-term deals. Karlsson has a more pressing timeline, as his arbitration hearing is scheduled for August 4th. After jumping from a career total of 18 goals to scoring 43 just last season, he’ll be one of the more interesting arbitration cases in the history of the NHL if he makes it that far. Carrier meanwhile will be arbitration eligible when this new contract expires.