The Vegas Golden Knights experienced the joys of binding arbitration for the first time with defenseman Nate Schmidt, but it wasn’t GM George McPhee’s first rodeo. The contract that the sides ended up with is a curious one.
First, let it be said that Schmidt and the Knights are the only ones that actually reached an arbitration hearing this summer, out of 30 possible cases. That they couldn’t get a deal done probably speaks to two factors: That Schmidt’s numbers last season (3 goals, 14 assists in 60 games with the Washington Capitals) aren’t too dazzling, but his potential in a larger role is undeniable; and that Schmidt wanted a one-year deal with a high salary, assuming that his role was going to be larger in the Knights’ inaugural season and he’ll have better numbers in the next rodeo.
As Steve Carp reported around the time of the hearing: “Schmidt, 26, is seeking a one-year, $2.75 million deal while the Knights are offering $1.9 million over two years. A four-year NHL veteran, Schmidt made $875,000 last season as a member of the Washington Capitals.”
Well, the arbitration ruling came down and here’s the deal: Schmidt gets an AAV of $2.225 million and the Knights get him for two seasons, as Schmidt makes $2.15 million in 2017-18 and $2.3 million in 2018-19.
And then he can walk away, as this deal carries him to UFA status.
“We’re happy to have Nate under contract for the next two seasons,” general manager George McPhee told Steve Carp of the Journal-Review. “Time to move on to the next task.”
It’s a little richer than the Knights wanted, a little longer than Schmidt wanted. But that’s the beauty of the process, one supposes.