Vegas signs suspended D Nate Schmidt to $35.7 million deal
Suspended defenceman Nate Schmidt and the Vegas Golden Knights agreed to a $35.7 million, six-year contract extension Wednesday that runs through the 2024-25 season.
LAS VEGAS — Suspended
The team announced the move late Wednesday night after losing 3-2 to the Vancouver Canucks in a shootout. Schmidt's new deal is worth $5.95 million per year.
The 27-year-old Schmidt was banned 20 games last month for violating the NHL's performance-enhancing drug policy. He can return to the Golden Knights on Nov. 18.
"He is the kind of
Schmidt led the Western Conference champions in ice time last season at 22:14 per game. He had five goals, 31 assists and 19 penalty minutes in 76 games. He added three goals and four assists with four penalty minutes in 20 playoff games for the expansion Golden Knights, who lost to the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Final.
In five NHL seasons, Schmidt has 13 goals, 66 assists and 64 penalty minutes in 276 career games. The native of Minnesota was selected by Vegas from Washington during the 2017 expansion draft.
"He means a lot," coach Gerard Gallant said. "He's a top player for us. He's done a great job playing
Schmidt insisted he didn't intentionally take a banned substance and couldn't have gotten any performance benefit from the "trace amount" that got into his system.
He and the Golden Knights released statements disagreeing with the penalty, though neither specified the substance. Schmidt said one of the experts testifying on his behalf at the appeal hearing likened the amount to a pinch of salt in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
The appeal, which was heard by a neutral arbitrator, was denied.
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The Associated Press