The Vegas Golden Knights have signed journeyman goaltender and newly-crowned Stanley Cup champion Adin Hill to a two-year contract extension with an average annual value (AAV) of $4.9 million.
It was reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman earlier this week that Hill and the Golden Knights had a tentative agreement in place on an extension before it was officially announced on Friday afternoon, with the value being confirmed from previous rumours.
Looks like they’ll have to keep running up that Hill… ⛰️
— 🏆 – Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) June 30, 2023
The Golden Knights acquired Hill from the San Jose Sharks on Aug. 29, 2022, in exchange for a 2024 fourth-round draft pick, which turned out to be one of the most impactful deals they would make over the past year. He started 25 games in the regular season and had a 16-7-1 record while posting a .915 save percentage (SV%) and a 2.50 goals-against average (GAA).
He then went on a historic run in his first-ever appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, putting together an 11-4 record and getting two shutouts while also leading the league with a .932 SV%, capping it off by finishing third in Conn Smythe voting.
Golden Knights’ Busy Offseason Continues
The Stanley Cup celebrations have come to a halt for the Vegas Golden Knights with general manager (GM) Kelly McCrimmon making some significant roster decisions over the past few days, including the re-signing of Ivan Barbashev as well as trading away Reilly Smith to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
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The Golden Knights have two other goaltenders who are unrestricted free agents this summer in Laurent Brossoit and Jonathan Quick. With rookie goaltender Logan Thompson entering the second year of his entry-level contract, they will likely let both Quick and Brossoit test the free agency market.
After this signing, the Golden Knights are now over the salary cap by $2.2 million. It’s difficult to decide who the next possible trade candidate will be, especially coming off of a Stanley Cup championship run where so many players contributed in huge ways. However, based on the current breakdown of the salary distribution over the next few seasons, the smart bet seems to be moving on from either Alec Martinez or Brayden McNabb.
Both of these players have offered similar contributions to this Golden Knights roster with their tenacity and willingness to block shots, but there are younger and more affordable options in the organization that can be developed to bring these same qualities to the NHL level. Braydan Pachal and Kaedan Korczak are both entering their mid-20s and have had stints with the Golden Knights this past season, making them serviceable options as potential replacements.
Martinez is 35 years old with a $5.25 million cap hit for one more season before he likely retires, and McNabb is 32 with a $2.85 million cap hit until the 2025-26 season. McNabb undoubtedly has the higher value and is the more likely of the two to be moved, but with some recently qualified restricted free agents (RFAs) like Pavel Dorofeyev and Brett Howden who are still in need of contracts, Martinez’s larger cap hit being moved could be the best option.
While there are always tough decisions to make in the offseason, the Golden Knights should be happy that they’ve locked down their Stanley Cup-winning goaltender at a reasonable price and term based on the resumé he has built throughout his career. With the way these playoffs went, it’s unlikely that teams will be able to justify giving goaltenders large contracts when it has seemingly become such a momentum-based position in the game.
They don’t have the money to pursue free agents throughout the summer, but fans should definitely expect some more movement to occur via trade over the next few weeks. The Golden Knights always like to keep themselves involved in the action any way they can, and this offseason will be no different.