The Vegas Golden Knights have committed to one of their 2019 NHL Entry Draft picks after signing Marcus Kallionkieli to a three-year entry level contract.
President of Hockey Operations George McPhee announced the transaction on Wednesday as the Vegas Golden Knights continue to put a bow on their busy offseason, which has seen the franchise make a flurry of moves in order to bring back key players and also get back under the salary cap ceiling of $81.5 million for 2019-20.
Kallionkieli was drafted by the Golden Knights with the 139th overall pick in Round 5 of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, one of eight prospects taken by Vegas in what was a hugely productive weekend in Vancouver in terms of replenishing the farm system.
The Golden Knights have signed forward Marcus Kallionkieli to an entry level contract!
Kallionkieli was selected in the 5th round (139th overall) at the 2019 draft 😃https://t.co/d8p7R6mQE0
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) July 31, 2019
The breakdown of the deal is as follows:
- Year 1: $700k base + $77.5k SB
- Year 2: $700k base + $77.5k SB
- Year 3: $750k base + $82.5k SB
Basically, Kallionkieli will earn a minor league salary of $70k, or he will get his normal base salary should he receive a call-up to the NHL, although that seems highly unlikely at this moment in time. It is expected that the forward will spend 2019-20 with the Wheat Kings in the WHL, according to Jesse Granger of The Athletic.
It is an interesting deal given that the Knights are yet to sign first-round pick Peyton Krebs to an entry-level deal, although given that the talented playmaker is currently recovering from an Achilles injury, there probably is no rush to get the No.17 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft under contract.
Back to Kallionkieli and the 18-year-old has an interesting background given that he is of both Brazilian and Finnish descent. He formed one of the most formidable lines in the USHL last year alongside Matin Pospisil and Bobby Brink, with the latter selected with the 34th overall pick at this year’s draft by the Philadelphia Flyers.
Kallionkieli posted 29 goals and 24 assists for 53 points in 58 games for the Sioux City Musketeers in the USHL in 2018-19, while accumulating 28 penalty minutes and recording a plus/minus rating of +13.
As already mentioned, Kallionkieli is expected to begin the year with the Wheat Kings in the WHL and another year of plying his trade in junior hockey will only be good for the left wing’s continued development.
This deal won’t affect the Golden Knights in the immediate future as Kallionkieli is way off from being NHL-ready, but they are laying some solid foundations for their farm system in terms of ensuring that their glut of talented prospects are under contract after also signing Danish-born forward Jonas Rondbjerg to an entry-level deal earlier in the offseason.
The task for Marcus Kallionkieli will now be to continue to learn his craft, develop as a player and put himself in the best possible position to win a roster spot in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves ahead of the 2020-21 season.