Martinez, who was set to hit the unrestricted free agent market on Wednesday, will carry a $5.25 million cap hit through the 2023-24 NHL season. According to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, the deal includes a $1.5 million signing bonus in the final two years and a modified no-trade clause.
The defenseman was second in scoring among Golden Knights defensemen with nine goals and 32 points. He led the team in total average ice time (1,195:59) and shorthanded ice time (131:07), and was the NHL leader in blocked shots (168). After being paired with Shea Theodore following the 2020 trade that brought him to Las Vegas, he the last part of this season alongside Alex Pietrangelo on the top pairing.
Busy summer with more work to do
Signing Martinez, plus dealing away Fleury, gives the Golden Knights a little under $7 million in cap space, per Cap Friendly. Restricted free agents Dylan Coghlan and Nolan Patrick, who were given qualifying offers this week, plus UFAs Mattias Janmark and Tomas Nosek, are the only players left for general manager Kelly McCrimmon to decide on.
After some high-priced moves the Golden Knights have made the last few seasons, the flat salary cap is putting a squeeze on them, forcing these changes. Their main core of players is locked up beyond the 2021-22 NHL season, with Max Pacioretty seeing his contract expires in the summer of 2023.
If Vegas is to remain in the Jack Eichel sweepstakes, any deal would be a “dollar in, dollar out” move, meaning a longtime piece could be part of a package. Reilly Smith? Alex Tuch? The Golden Knights have been aggressive in improving their team since that memorable first season. They’ll want to further cement their Stanley Cup contender status this offseason, and such an impact move would do just that.