The NHL announced this morning that Golden Knights top defenseman Nate Schmidt has been suspended for the first 20 games of the regular season for violating the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program.
Per NHL rules, Schmidt will also be forced to miss all eight of the Golden Knights preseason games. He is however permitted to participate in training camp activities with the team.
The Golden Knights wasted no time strongly condemning the league for a suspension they believe is unwarranted. This statement was released just one minute after the league announced the suspension.
We were notified that the NHL has suspended Nate Schmidt for violating the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program. While we respect the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program and are committed to its success, we strongly disagree with the suspension. We firmly believe that the presence of a trace of the banned substance was accidental and unintentional. Based on our conversations with Nate, analysis from independent medical experts and sworn testimony from the parties involved, we believe it is clear Nate was not able to reasonably ascertain how the substance entered his body. Nate is an honest person with high moral character and great integrity. We will stand by him and support him during this time. -Golden Knights Official Statement
Schmidt released a statement of his own as well via the NHLPA website. In it, he explains that he has already appealed the suspension.
With the move from the Moline, Illinois to Fort Wayne, Indiana the Vegas minor league system is back in order as the Golden Knights and Fort Wayne Komets agreed to a one-year ECHL affiliation.
The Golden Knights were forced to find a new affiliate after the Quad City Mallards folded following the 2017-18 season.
Keegan Kolesar, Tyler Wong, and Dimitry Osipov are among the Golden Knights prospects who made appearances in the ECHL last year.
With the agreement, the Golden Knights and their AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves, will be able to freely transfer players to the Komets.
The Komets do have a prior connection to the Golden Knights. Jack Adams winner Gerard Gallant’s first-ever coaching job was in Fort Wayne. He was an assistant coach in 1998-99 under head coach Grant Sonier.
When the contract expires, Karlsson will remain an RFA with arbitration rights.
The Golden Knights held the cards in terms of how long the deal would be. Arbitration can only award a player a 1 or 2 yr deal. Since Karlsson filed for arb, the team gets to pick the length. VGK likely chose 1 year to keep him an RFA. 2 would have made him a UFA at contract end.
William had a great year for us and we are excited to now have him under contract for next season. -George McPhee
I’m happy to have my deal and we don’t have to speculate other things. I want to prove that I can do it more than just once. Hopefully I play good and can look at a longer deal in the future. -William Karlsson
The NHL Department of Player Saftey has decided that Evander Kane will be suspended for one game due to his cross-check of Pierre-Edouard Bellemare after the whistle in Game 1. Kane will miss Game 2 of the series tomorrow.
This cross-check occurs well after the whistle is blown and serves no purpose other than as a strike to an opponent’s head. This is not a hockey play. -NHL Department of Player Safety
While Kane asserts he did not intentionally strike at an opponents head, there are two cross-checks on this play. The first was delivered directly to Bellemare’s arm, then with no meaningful change of position by either player Kane delivers a second blow which strikes Bellemare in the head. -NHL Department of Player Safety
The Sharks will also be without Joe Thornton once again for Game 2. Head coach Pete DeBoer did say he expects Joonas Donskoi to play.