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Reaves Scores In Contract Negotiations On VGK Again

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Over the past two and a half seasons since Ryan Reaves was acquired via trade he’s become one of the most popular, recognizable, and marketable members on the Golden Knights.

From the water commercials to the beer company to his unmistakable style on and off the ice, Reaves is one-of-a-kind in today’s NHL.

He’s become a real valuable player to our team, he’s well-respected across the league by both teammates and opponents. He’s not cheap, he’s honest, he’s tough, he’s hard, and he’s a really intelligent player. The coaching staff really appreciates what he does for our team. We’re excited to have him remain in our organization. -Kelly McCrimmon

It’s been clear for some time that both sides wanted to get a deal done and Monday it became official as Reaves signed a two-year contract with an AAV of $1.75 million.

The number is perfectly fair for a player with his offensive production, taking into account the intangibles he brings and his consistent availability having missed just two games since joining the Golden Knights. But the question that must be asked about this contract is one of leverage in negotiations, which was clearly on the side of the team yet didn’t appear to be taken advantage of.

I don’t think it’s a secret that I love it here and that I wanted to stay. I’ve heard people say they could have gotten me cheaper because I have the business thing but at the end of the day hockey comes first for me. The hockey business decision had to be before the beer business or whatever else I do in the community. The hockey had to come first but it had to make sense for me and my family. -Reaves

The “people he’s heard” are me. And they should be anyone else who is concerned with the Golden Knights salary cap too.

As he mentioned in his media availability on Tuesday, it was no secret that he wanted to remain in Vegas. He has multiple endorsements, started a budding beer company that has grown immensely in the past 12 months, built a house in Summerlin, and has never done anything but profess his love for the Las Vegas valley.

Despite what he says now that the contract has been signed, it will remain fair to question whether or not it was ever a realistic possibility that he’d walk away from Vegas if offered an undervalued contract.

Two years ago, Reaves was in a similar spot with his contract, but a much different one personally, in that his ties to the city were much weaker than they are now. He tested free agency, garnered multiple offers, and ended up cashing in with a two-year deal worth almost $6 million dollars.

For me, last time free agency went really well. It can go sideways just as easily. You can go test free agency and all of a sudden they find somebody else or they make a big signing and they don’t have money for you anymore. So it can go both ways and I was fortunate enough that it worked out in my favor last time but I knew I wanted to be here so once the conversation was started, as long as the terms and the money were right for both sides going to free agency didn’t really do anything for me. -Reaves

For Reaves, the deal is perfect. He earns a salary equal to or very close to his market value while remaining in the city in which he’s become a star.

But for the Golden Knights, it certainly appears as though they were gunshy from their last encounter with Reaves in free agency. Last time, McPhee admitted to signing Reaves to a two-year deal for the same amount of money as he would have gotten for three elsewhere, simply because the Golden Knights didn’t want to lose him. But that time, he certainly would have signed a contract elsewhere, this time it’s not as clear.

Vegas appears to have forfeited any leverage they had in negotiation based on Reaves’ affinity toward the city in order to avoid a possible repeat of July 2018.

They knew he didn’t want to leave, he knew he didn’t want to leave, and yet still the two sides came to an agreement that represents fair market value well before he became a free agent; as opposed to something more team-friendly like they were able to pull off with others in a similar spot like William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, Nate Schmidt, or Nick Holden.

In the end, it’s only a few hundred thousand dollars that the Golden Knights may have missed out on, and in a town known for gambling, maybe it just wasn’t a risk the VGK front office was willing to take. But there’s no question that time was on the Golden Knights side and they opted not to use it.

So, for the second time in three years, Ryan Reaves has capitalized on the Golden Knights front office. Last time it wasn’t that surprising, like Reaves beating someone up in a fight. This time though, it feels like a Reaves goal on the ice, kind of unbelievable that it actually happened.

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31 Comments

  1. Rob

    It’s nice to see players score on mgmt, as Reaves did here, and with his last deal. Also, nice to see that his love of Vegas included learning the real mechanics of gaming, and that’s really paid off for him. With COVID uncertainty, he cashed out/in at the perfect time. Reaves is playing like he’s the House, and not a sucker bettor. Yeah, a couple hundred grand in potential savings lost for the team, but his story is a really great lesson for everyone, no matter what you do.

    • It’s nice from the player perspective. And while I’m never going to be mad at a player or upset at a player for making money (good for them and their agent), my allegiance is with the team. So any dollar spent that may have been saveable is one that hurts the team.

  2. Mikegron32

    So if a player makes it known that he loves it here and wants to stay, the team should take advantage of that and screw him by offering less money?? Then they can use that extra money to offer more to someone who doesn’t really want to be here but will stay for more money.. .??

    • It’s been the M.O. of the team for the past three seasons. Karlsson, Marchessault, Schmidt, Theodore, Tuch, McNabb, Holden (the 2nd time) all take friendly deals, while new players like Stone, Pacioretty, Stastny, and Holden (the 1st time) get market value or above.

      • Mike StG

        I don’t agree with your premise about players’ deals. The first group you describe as taking team friendly deals are all paid about what they’re worth, given when the deals were signed. Tuch was probably a little high on the front end. Stone and Patch were part of complex trade deals where an agreement on salary was required to close the deal. Stastny was a UFA and they needed a solid 2C to be a cup contender, which they didn’t feel they had in Haula. Holden was also a UFA and Vegas needed another solid D as their prospects were not ready and they needed to improve the blue line. You’ll always pay at least a slight premium with UFAs. Also, term was a factor in contract value for Stastny, Patch, Holden and MAF (higher AAV on shorter term deals), and all the “team friendlies” (lower AAV but longer term).

  3. Don't get mad

    Ken, you claim this is fair market value. I don’t believe you actually believe that statement. Nothing that you’ve said the last year would back up $1.75 a year compared to what we pay others and compared to what VGK could use the money for. He’s a $1 million a year max contributor. I believe that #blm helped boost his offer because obviously Vegas loves him, he plays really hard every game, he’s a great family man, he loves the city and gives to the city, he’s an enforcer but from a pure results statistics perspective, it doesn’t add up to his new salary unless you start looking at other reasons why Vegas would also want him on their team that are not hockey related. Just like any admissions process, the admission committee may look at test scores, gpa, class rank and they take into account race also.

    • Much of my criticism over the past few years has been that he’s replaceable at the price that he was previously paid. Everyone, including the guys who signed the deal, admit that it was an overpaid deal before, but when you take into account the offensive production (17 goals the last two seasons), his availability (missed just 2 games), and what he brings to a 4th line in regards to forechecking, I think $1.75 is perfectly fair. If you look at the names of players making something similar, his fits right in. Ryan Donato, Ryan Hartman, Tim Schaller, Luke Glendening.

      As for why I believe he won on the deal, it’s because VGK held all the cards. He wanted to stay, he makes money off the ice here he probably won’t make elsewhere, and the tax ramifications are in VGK’s favor. I do believe someone would have offered more that $1.75, but I don’t think anyone would have offered enough to sway him from passing on a $1.2ish deal here. Maybe I’m wrong, but it’s a fact that VGK didn’t take the time to find out. I believe that to be a mistake, though not one that is major in any way.

      I do not believe race had anything to do with it and I honestly find it kind of insulting to both sides to even consider that.

      • Don't get mad

        I thought one of the premises of #blm was to take race into account because it’s black men like me have been treated differently and many times negatively because of our race. So to try to say bringing race into the conversation when discussing a black man playing a sport dominated by white players and owners is insulting, really misses the current moment in the USA. Race is not irrelevant. Trust me, during these super-emotional/overcharged times, I guarantee you that Foley would much prefer to be known as owner who has a black man vs am owner who offered lower to a black man. Obviously he’s a good player and deserves to be paid as a professional, obviously he’s a great guy, and obviously he’s black– which helps him this time…. probably one of a few times unfortunately where being black helps the situation compared to being profiled, followed around stores etc

        • Daryl

          I do think race had something to do with this deal…. which makes it really sad as it shouldn’t have anything at all to do with it

  4. Doktor Hockey

    Have to agree with the comments so far. Ken made it clear he didn’t like Reeves way back. Didn’t feel his “type of play” was needed in the NHL anymore. Revo has brought both tangible and intangible positives to the Knights. He is a very important part of the overall attitude of the team! Quite simply he is worth every dollar the Knights are paying him. GO REVO GO !!!!!!!!!!!

    • Daryl

      And that is where I completely disagree with Ken…. Revo’s style of play is still very much needed in the NHL. It’s part of the NHL and a majority of the players still feel as though it is needed. They are the ones playing and they are the ones who should be making those decisions.

      • I’m just going to take shot in dark here, but are you approaching AARP status?

      • Mike StG

        I think a good example of what Reaves brings to the team (besides leading the league in hits) was what happened last year in SJS playoff when Old Joe the 100 yr old player took a cheap shot at Nosek and got suspended for a game. Is there anyone who believes Joe would have tried that on Reaves? Same goes for Joe intentionally starting a fight with Wild Bill. Or Wilson‘s (WSH) shenanigans. Opposing teams will take shots, Reaves is a deterrent, as well as a feared forechecker.

  5. sb

    Great, great, great for loyalty. OK. But at the cost of the future? Lose much younger players to keep an older player? Today, the matter isn’t loyalty, it’s salary cap, managing that and the future of the club. We all love Reaves. OK. But I would not put Reaves ahead of Cousins, Stephenson, Nosek, Glass or Roy. All oif these guys will be contributing in the NHL five years after Reaves is retired. Are we only worried about this year and next, or is the next ten years just as important? I’ve watched too many teams make this mistake. Just look at what Kenny Holland did to the Wings.

  6. Doktor Hockey

    The goal, right NOW, is to win the cup! We have the team that CAN do that, right now! All the, could’ve, should’ve , will be, can be, means nothing right now! NOW! The fans want to win this thing NOW! Do you think the vast majority of fans worry about 3-4-5 years from NOW! No! We want to win the Stanley Cup NOW!!!!!!! None of us have any guarantee we will even be here in the future. NONE! We want hockey back in a few weeks, then, we want to win the cup, NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • sb

      Reaves IS on the Team for this post season. His new contract begins next season, not this season. Soooo, you have Reaves for this season to win the Cup. Yes, the future matters. The Wings had a two decade dynasty, actually 24 great years. They lost sight of the future. Today the Wings can get fans to buy their tickets. Ask the Wings. Yes, the future matters.

      • Mike StG

        Don’t understand all the angst about the future. Foley directed management to try and win now in light of 2017 results. Their built to win now but have a solid roster and prospect pool for the next 5-6 years. They’ll keep Chandler and Cousins, as they’re RFAs, even if they extend them for 1 yr. They’ll have at least 10.5 mil to work with after next year, between just Stastny & Martinez. The following yr Patch and MAF contracts expire, another 14 mil. It would be pointless to deconstruct the current SC contending team over future concerns. Most of F group is signed for at least 4 yrs or under team control. Exceptions are Stastny (1 yr) & Patch (2 yrs) which prospects will likely fill. Or utility players easily replaced. Same with D.

  7. Tim

    Are you going to get a replacement for Reeves who plays that intense, hits as hard as he does, and having that personality I don’t think so. Carrier, Roy, and Reeves are going to be a hell of a fourth line again.

  8. A Fan

    I understand Ken has to stir the pot once in a while, because if all he ever said were Ra Ra positive things about the Knights it would be boring to most people and he would be out of a job doing what he does. But it’s hard to argue that Reaves isn’t a valuable part of this team and the top executives must think so as well. I think even Ken is realizing that it’s time to find someone/something new to ‘complain’ about. Reaves is here to stay for the next couple years and most of us are glad he is.

  9. THE hockey GOD

    over paid big mouth, throw back type of player who brings more motivation from the OTHER team when they fight him

    • Tim

      The Hockey Dud could you give me one good reason you post on this site. Is your life that miserable that you come here do get your jollies. It’s really sad that you think this is the only way for you to get noticed.

      • Doktor Hockey

        OMG! Amen Tim … Thank you!

        • THE hockey GOD

          another useless post by old man doc, who changed his alias , again.

      • THE hockey GOD

        Tim I call them like a lot of people would call them. I see no redeeming qualities in this goon. Except if you want to motivate the other team, which has happened more than once.

        What is YOUR problem ? You don’t agree in first amendment to express a factual opinion? Go troll someone else, putz. You have nothing to offer here.

  10. Daryl

    I’m happy that Reaves signed but I think they could have gotten him for around $1.4 or maybe even a little less. Now sign Engo to another base salary 🙂

    • Tim

      Please it’s time to send Engo out to pasture DeBoer doesn’t play him doesn’t that tell you it’s time to assist coaching with our AHL. Good guy and a good fit.

      • Daryl

        Did you not see the smiley face at the end? No I don’t think te will sign and u think he would be a great coach. I will say this though, if it’s between Merrill at whatever salary or Engo at base I’d take Engo any day off the week. And as far as PDB, I still do not think he is a very good coach. I remember him praising 15 and 22 after the two combined for 5 turnovers and a – 4. He hasn’t shown anything to make me change his mind. Vegas starting winning when MAF got his head on straight

  11. Doktor Hockey

    #5 is my favorite Knight. It’s his sweater I bought and only one I’ll ever wear! But, I really think he will retire and I hope he becomes a part of the coaching staff. The AHL Knights would be a perfect place for him to help younger players and develop his coaching skills, if that’s the course he wants to pursue. He’ll be part of the extended roster for the playoffs. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll be called on to contribute to the Knights run for the cup!

  12. Quite an assortment of ideas – none of which mean much but entertaining just the same. I do think it is very sad that RACE had to be brought up in this site – no disrespect to the one who believes he has been treated differently but it is amazing no one has an issue with all the baseball, football, basketball, etc players who make tons on money and all think its fine. Has anyone taken into consideration the reason there have been limited race issues in hockey – most hockey players come from countries where that was all they learned – often skated just after learning to walk – this has absolutely nothing to do with race and the signing of Reaves for whatever and probably didn’t have anything to do with it. Is he worth 1.75M maybe not and no more questionable than Stone worth 9.5M and many players in other sports making millions. The sooner everyone understands hockey like all sports is a business and those capable of performing regardless of race turn out to be the players. It’s really that simple.

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