It made perfect sense for the Vegas Golden Knights to renew their vows with Ryan Reaves.
Announced on Monday by General Manager Kelly McCrimmon, the Vegas Golden Knights and Reaves agreed to a two-year contract extension with an AAV of $1.75 million.
It was a vital piece of business by the front office who locked up a mainstay of the roster through the 2021-22 season.
And it was a deal that ticked a lot of boxes for both parties.
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For Reaves, who also has his own brewing company in Nevada, he gets to potentially see out his career for a franchise he has truly flourished with.
Since being acquired in a trade from the Pittsburgh Penguins on Feb. 26, 2018, the powerhouse forward has established himself as somewhat of a cult status in Sin City.
With his bone-crushing hits, a formidable reputation as a fighter and able to get under the skin of an opponent with an excellent trash-talking game, Reaves is the master of what is a dying art in the modern-day NHL.
However, in addition to leading the NHL in hits in both 2018-19 (305) and this season prior to the pause (316), Reaves has consistently proved during his time in Vegas that he’s far from a one-trick pony.
Averaging just 0.12 Points Per Game in seven years with both the St. Louis Blues and the Pittsburgh Penguins, Reaves has upped that to 0.22 in three seasons with the Golden Knights.
He put together a career-year in 2018-19 with nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points while averaging 10:53 minutes of ice time, and the powerhouse forward also carved out career-highs in power play goals (3) and game-winning goals (2).
Reaves continued to add an offensive punch to his game this season, recording 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in 71 regular season games prior to the sporting world being halted by COVID-19.
Also able to come up clutch in key moments, the 33-year-old is perhaps an undervalued weapon when it comes to crashing hard to the net and being a formidable net-front presence.
Therefore, an AAV of $1.75 million for the next two years isn’t that much of an overpay for a bottom-line grinder who brings more to the table than just pure toughness.
You also have to consider Reaves’ importance in the locker room, coupled with his sheer popularity among Golden Knights fans.
To put it simply, Reaves is a cult hero in Vegas and he’s a unique commodity given his importance to the franchise.
Of course, the Golden Knights had to walk the tightrope of paying Reaves what he deserved while not making a drastic overpayment, especially considering how tight to the salary cap they already are.
With the Salary Cap expected to be frozen at $81.5 million for the 2020-21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Golden Knights will have just under $7 million in cap space in which to deal with six pending free agents and fill out the remainder of the roster in the wake of Reaves re-signing.
Taking Robin Lehner out of the equation because it was always unlikely that the elite goalie was going to be anything other than a pure rental, the Knights should have enough cap space to re-sign the likes of Chandler Stephenson and Nick Cousins while potentially hitting free agency for one or two depth signings.
That aspect makes the Ryan Reaves extension even more of a no-brainer for the Vegas Golden Knights, who now have two more years of one the toughest guys in hockey who so happens to pack an offensive punch too.