NHL News & Notes: Schmidt Extension, Wilson Suspension & More

In today’s News & Notes, Nate Schmidt has signed a lengthy contract extension to remain in Las Vegas, the NHL has upheld one of their most severe suspensions in recent history and the Boston Bruins have been dealing with even more injury issues that have led to an emergency call-up.

Related: NHL News & Notes: Boyle, Beleskey & More

Schmidt Signs Contract Extension

The Vegas Golden Knights have signed Schmidt to a six-year contract extension worth $35.7 million. The deal will pay Schmidt a total of $5.95 million per season starting in 2019-20. Schmidt had a breakout campaign with the Vegas Golden Knights last season after being selected during the Expansion Draft from the Washington Capitals.

The left-shot defender set career-highs in every statistical category with 76 games, five goals, 31 assists and 36 points.

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt
Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt (John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports)

Schmidt has yet to play a game in 2018-19, however, as he was suspended for 20 games after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. While Schmidt reluctantly accepted the suspension that was handed down to him, he made it clear that he is not a cheater.

“It is difficult to accept this suspension,” Schmidt said in a statement at the time. “I understand that I will miss these games, but I do not agree with the suspension and I will not accept being labeled a cheater.”

While Schmidt would agree that a strong Performance Enhancing Substances Program was important to have in the NHL, it was still hard to accept.

“It was utterly shocking to be informed that I tested positive for a microscopic amount of a tainted substance,” Schmidt said. “Not only did I not intentionally take a banned substance, I could not have received any performance enhancement benefit from the trace amount that inadvertently got into my system at a level that was far too small to have any effect.”

Wilson Suspension Upheld

Gary Bettman has ruled that the original 20-game suspension that was handed out to Tom Wilson for his illegal check to the head of St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist during a preseason game in September will be upheld. The original transgression took place on Sept. 30 in Washington and the original ruling came just a few days later on Oct. 3.

Tom Wilson Capitals
Tom Wilson, Washington Capitals, March. 18, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

After hearing Wilson’s appeal to have his suspension reduced, Bettman deemed the original punishment to be sufficient and ruled that there would be no reduction made. Wilson will forfeit a total of $1,260,162.60 as a result. The money will instead be going to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Frank Seravalli reported that Bettman had the following to say:

“Mr. Wilson’s recent play has threatened the safety and well-being of opposing players on too many occasions, despite prior discipline … and despite considerable efforts of [DoPS] to counsel Mr. Wilson on how to play within the rules.”

Related: Tom Wilson Suspended 20 Games

Wilson is in the first year of a 6-year, $31 million contract that pays him $5.16 million per season. He’s yet to play in a game this season as a result of the suspension.

Miller Out Four Weeks & Lauzon Called Up

The Boston Bruins have placed Kevan Miller on the injured reserve. The veteran defender injured his hand and will be out of action for at least three weeks according to head coach Bruce Cassidy. This is just another injury in what has proven to be a very tumultuous two seasons for the Bruins who were arguably hit harder than any team last season with injuries and are already dealing with five players (four defenders) who are injured this season.

Kevan Miller Bruins
Kevan Miller, Boston Bruins, Dec. 2, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In addition to Miller being hurt, the Bruins are also without Charlie McAvoy and Torey Krug (two top-four blueliners for the team) as well as Urho Vaakaninen and David Backes. The Bruins were then forced to recall Jeremy Lauzon on an emergency basis to fill in on the back-end. This is Lauzon’s first NHL call-up of his career.

Related: What Lauzon Needs to Do During Bruins’ Call-Up

In six games in Providence this season, Lauzon has scored one goal and four points. A second-round pick in 2015, Lauzon joins Jake DeBrusk, Brandon Carlo and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson from that draft class to skate in at least one game with the Bruins.