The Vegas Golden Knights have signed winger Keegan Kolesar to a three-year contract capped at $1.4 million.
Kolesar was a restricted free agent after completing his two-year contract capped at $725,000. Originally a third-round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2015, Columbus dealt him to the Golden Knights in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft for a second-round pick that became forward Alexandre Texier.
Kolesar had his best season yet in 2021-22, with seven goals, 17 assists and 24 points in 77 games. He also had a career-high 246 hits, which ranked 10th in the league. It’s only his second full season after breaking into the league in 2020-21, where he played 44 games and had three goals, 10 assists and 13 points.
Although Kolesar is more of a physical player, that doesn’t mean he can’t drive the game like many players of his style of play seem to be guilty of. He has a shot attempt share of 53.57% and an expected goal share of 53.36% at even strength in his career so far, and although his more less adjusted regularized indicates he is not not the one driving the bus, he certainly isn’t slowing it down either.
There are few teams in a tough cap situation like the Golden Knights. They’re almost $3 million over the salary cap and they still have restricted free agents to sign in Nicolas Roy, Nicolas Hague and Jake Leschyshyn.
Vegas has already tried to offload some of that cap space, sending Max Pacioretty and his $7 million cap to the Carolina Hurricanes for nothing, but they’re still not under the cap. It’s the second straight year they’ve had to deal with a good player for nothing to make space, sending Marc-Andre Fleury to the Chicago Blackhawks after winning the Vezina Trophy in 2020-21.