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Offseason Plans: What Are The Golden Knights Going To Do With William Karlsson?
(Photo by Getty Images)
Las Vegas–The Golden Knights offseason won’t be a quiet one as business decisions continue to mount ahead of the 2018-19 campaign.
One thing is certain that General Manager George McPhee will have to do something with top line scoring forward William Karlsson.
Karlsson is one of the franchises notable RFA’s in this years class along with Tomas Nosek and William Carrier.
With Karlsson, he had himself a career season with the Golden Knights in goal production at 43.
He also became the first 30 and 40 goal scorer in club history.
Not only those notables, he recorded the first ever regular season hat trick in franchise history vs. the Leafs on New Years Eve 2018. He then later followed that up with tallying the club’s first ever natural hat trick against the Flames on March 18.
The natural hat trick for Karlsson put him into the NHL history books as the eight player to record one in a franchises inaugural season. He joined a list of players which includes the NHLs all time leading scorer “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky.
Gretzky accomplished the act as a member of the 1979-80 Edmonton Oilers.
Among the league scorers for the 2017-18 campaign, Karlsson had the largest increase at +37 in goal production from his prior season with the Columbus Blue Jackets. There he put the puck in the back of the net just 6 times. In addition, he was a +49 this season.
In the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Finals, Karlsson finished in second place behind Jonathan Marchessault with 7 goals. Marchessault led Vegas in the playoffs with 8 goals. Karlsson finished the playoffs with +8.
At 25-years of age, Karlsson is coming off of his original 2-year deal that he signed when he played with Columbus. That deal was rated at $2 million total over the term with an AAV of $1 mil per season.
With the RFA deadline approaching on June 25, McPhee has the next few weeks to submit qualifying offers to. This puts him in an interesting position in how to handle Karlsson going forward.
According to NHL Networks EJ Hradek, Karlsson has two years left of RFA status which includes the option of him taking his case to arbitration.
Based on his numbers that he produced in both the regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs I don’t think that it will go in that direction.
So the burning question going forward with McPhee is how much do you sign “Wild Bill” in terms of money and length?
What Hradek stated on today’s 5-minute major segment is that Vegas could use the bridge contract option when signing Karlsson to his first Golden Knights deal.
This method makes perfect sense for both Karlsson and McPhee because it will be to gauge how he performs in the upcoming season and if he can put up similar numbers.
It will also allow the organization the flexibility needed during this short term evaluation process before signing him long term.
Another question that Karlsson will have to ask himself is will the 2018-19 season be a follow up to his 40+ goal campaign in the Golden Knights Inaugural Season in a way that could potentially warrant a longer term contract down the road.
Only time will tell but inking a short term contract would be best option for him before committing long term.