Chandler Stephenson is here to stay with the Vegas Golden Knights.
While deep in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the Vegas Golden Knights took time to secure the future of one of their best role players.
With all NHL teams having until 2:00 p.m. PT today to extend qualifying offers to Restricted Free Agents, the Golden Knights opted to sign Stephenson to a new four-year, $11 million deal.
The contract carries an Average Annual Value of $2.75 million.
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It is a team-friendly deal for what Stephenson gives this team, and you can’t argue with his production or his impact on the Golden Knights.
After being acquired from the Washington Capitals on Dec. 2, for a 2021 Fifth Round pick, Stephenson revitalized his career while sending a jolt of energy through the locker room.
He was an absolute home run of an addition, providing the Golden Knights with a much-needed offensive spark.
Stephenson recorded 22 points (8 G, 14 A) in 41 regular season games for Vegas, compared to just four points (3 G, 1 A) in 24 games for the Caps prior to the trade.
His offensive outburst ensured that the Swiss-Army-Knife type player carved out a career-year in a number of categories.
Stephenson also proved crucial to the Golden Knights from a versatility point of view, sliding up and down the lineup and performing in all situations.
In all, Stephenson proved to be the perfect fit for the Golden Knights and vice-versa and, at 26-years-old, the potential unlocked in 2019-20 could just be the beginning.
The extension is also significant because Stephenson could be in line for a bigger role with the Golden Knights heading into the 2020-21 season.
Now $2.089 million over the $81.5 million salary cap, the Knights are actively looking to shed salary with Marc-Andre Fleury, Nate Schmidt, Paul Stastny and Jonathan Marchessault all being shopped according to reports.
If Stastny and Marchessault do get traded then that could mean an elevated role for Stephenson, unless prospects Cody Glass, Peyton Krebs or Jack Dugan step up to the plate.
But, if Stephenson can maintain his points production with the Golden Knights and continue to perform in all situations, then this deal could prove to be an absolute bargain down the road.
The only downside is the fact that Stephenson went cold during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, recording just five points (3 G, 2 A) in 20 games, although that could be attributed to more of a team problem than an individual flaw.
Anyway, the Vegas Golden Knights did the right thing by signing Chandler Stephenson to an extension, with the forward emerging as a key role player for this team.