Nate Schmidt is staying in Vegas!
The Vegas Golden Knights signed suspended defenseman Nate Schmidt to a six-year contract extension with an average annual value of $5.95 million.
The deal is front-loaded and includes a 10-team no-trade clause.
“Nate’s turned out to be a pretty good defenseman for us,” general manager George McPhee said. “There’s still a lot of room for growth for Nate. He’s the kind of defenseman every team in this league is looking for. … He’s become a shutdown defenseman for us.”
Schmidt was suspended without pay for the first 20 games of the season Sept. 2 for violating the terms of the NHL/NHL Players’ Association Performance Enhancing Substances Program. He is eligible to return Nov. 18 at the Edmonton Oilers.
“It was utterly shocking to be informed that I tested positive for a microscopic amount of a tainted substance,” he said in a statement at the time. “… While I support having a strong Performance Enhancing Substances Program in place for our sport, it is difficult to accept this suspension. I understand that I will miss these games, but I do not agree with the suspension and I will not accept being labelled a cheater.”
Upon his return, Schmidt will be in the final season of the two-year, $4.45-million deal he had signed with the Golden Knights after being plucked from the Capitals in the expansion draft two summers ago.
Schmidt posted a career-high 36 points (five goals, 31 assists) and led the Golden Knights in average ice time at 22:14 last season.