Since today marks exactly 75 days until the regular season, it seemed a good day to talk about the Golden Knights #75, Ryan Reaves.
Reaves was acquired by Vegas a few days before the trade deadline in which the Golden Knights acted as the third party in a deal that sent Derick Brassard from the Senators to the Penguins.
At the time, the Golden Knights were going through a rough patch injury-wise. James Neal, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, William Carrier were all in-and-out of the lineup and subsequent injuries to David Perron and Reilly Smith kept Reaves on the ice for every game in the regular season.
Then, the playoffs came and with a healthy roster, Reaves was out of the lineup, behind Ryan Carpenter and William Carrier. As the playoffs progressed, William Carrier got injured, Carpenter, Tomas Tatar and David Perron fell out of the lineup, and Reaves became a mainstay on the fourth line. In the Western Conference Finals Reaves scored the game-winning goal that clinched the Golden Knights trip to the Stanley Cup Final. He then backed that goal up with a tally in Game 1 of the Final.
When the season ended, he was set to become an unrestricted free agent and comments from GM George McPhee made it sound like Reaves was not going to re-sign with Vegas prior to July 1st and probably not at all.
We made our offer, they said they’d circle back but they are looking for a longer term deal. If he gets the longer term deal then he won’t be coming back. But in that transaction, we got a player and a 4th round pick understanding that the player might leave. -George McPhee on 6/24/18
As it turns out, he got the longer term deal and still came back. So what happened?
A few days before July 1st, when Reaves was officially eligible to sign with any team in the NHL, he made it clear to any other team pursuing him that he was going to stay in Vegas. On June 30th, that happened as he signed a two-year deal worth $2.775 million per year.
Reaves was two years and basically, there was a lot of interest in him. There was a lot of competition for him. We simply took the money from a three-year deal and pushed it into two. -McPhee on 7/1/18
The question is, why? Why on June 30th would the Golden Knights be willing to break down and admittedly overpay for a player they seemed perfectly content losing a week prior?