No doubt about it, the breakout star of the 2017-18 NHL season was Vegas Golden Knights sniper William Karlsson. The 25 year old center affectionately known as “Wild Bill” put up an astounding 43 goals and 78 points in 82 games with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season, following a pedestrian six goal, 25 point season with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2016-17. From 25 points to nearly 80 points… yeah we’d say that’s the definition of a break out player.
Here’s the only problem, at least from general manager George McPhee’s perspective: Karlsson is due a fat raise. His two year, $2 million contract is up on June 30th and he’ll officially become a restricted free agent on July 1st. Technically he’ll still be a member of the Golden Knights, but McPhee will have to do some serious negotiating before Karlsson is allowed back onto the ice in 2018-19. Estimates have Karlsson earning as much as $5 million to $6 million annually on a long term deal moving forward.
Up until now, Karlsson and his agent have been quiet regarding contract negotiations, but media members did manage to get him to open up yesterday ahead of tonight’s NHL Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas.
Check it out:
“I’m just enjoying myself for a while and the business time is about to come.”
Not much to dissect there, but it’s Karlsson’s next statement that should be music to Knights fans’ ears:
“I just know I want to stay here. Hopefully they want the same thing. I like it here in Vegas. I like the organization and the city around it. This is where I want to be, so we’ll see what happens.”
Hopefully the two sides can come to terms on a long-term deal in short order. McPhee is expected to be busy this summer pursuing top free agents like New York Islanders captain John Tavares and top trade targets like Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson. If McPhee can lock up William Karlsson and get some cost certainty moving forward, it will be a huge benefit to the team in Tavares and Erik Karlsson negotiations. Of course, there’s also Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson out there, as well… W. Karlsson, E. Karlsson and J. Carlson running the Knights’ power play in 2018-19? Our heads are spinning already… but we LOVE the prospect of it.