Golden Knights sign KHL high-scorer Vadim Shipachyov for two years, $9M

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Vadim Shipachyov isn’t the first player to ever sign with the Vegas Golden Knights. He probably counts as their first “big” signing, though.

The team announced that they signed the 30-year-old forward to a two-year, $9 million contract on Thursday.

“Vadim is a highly skilled playmaker who has had an impressive career in the Kontinental Hockey League,” GM George McPhee said. “He has won two KHL championships, has been among the league leaders in scoring the last two seasons and has enjoyed success at the international level for Team Russia. We believe he can be an impact player in the NHL.”

Indeed, Shipachyov was strong in 2016-17, generating the third-highest point total in the KHL with 76, just two behind SKA Saint Petersburg teammate and former NHL All-Star Ilya Kovalchuk. (Who may also be heading to North America next season).

Shipachyov wasn’t drafted by an NHL team, but those numbers are promising.

It’s unclear how much talent the Golden Knights can wring from the expansion draft, but they can offer interesting opportunities to a wide variety of free agents (from overseas, the NCAA or the unrestricted market) in possibly getting a prominent role.

You could say that giving a $4.5 million cap hit to a guy who’s never played in the NHL is a gamble … and the Golden Knights would probably like it if you did.

(At least privately.)

NHL.com has more on the Golden Knights’ newest signing.