After getting some serious interest during the NHL interview period Ryan Reaves has agreed to return to the Vegas Golden Knights signing a two-year deal worth $2.775 MM per season.
One of the toughest men in the NHL, Reaves played a big role in helping the Golden Knights make it to the Stanley Cup Finals as an NHL Expansion franchise and speculation is that some teams were willing to offer a three-year deal to Reaves to bring that same grit to their organization but Vegas decided to match the money over one year less a period of time and Reaves found that kind of deal worked well, keeping him as part of the Golden Knights organization.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) June 30, 2018
Reaves Path to Vegas
Reaves started this past season with Pittsburgh but his stay with the Pens wasn’t memorable. He was shipped to Vegas as part of a three-team trade that brought Derick Brassard to the Penguins and Reaves began to play a regular role as the Golden Knights proved they weren’t a fluke and made the postseason in their inaugural season. By the time the season had ended, Reaves had ten points, 94 penalty minutes, and 236 hits in 79 games while adding a pair of goals in ten playoff games. It wasn’t the kind of production anyone expected considering he’s been known primarily as an NHL tough guy.
Despite not being a player many believed would provide a ton of offensive production, Reaves, now 31, was one of the names to watch on the free agency tracker. Many believed he’d sign with a team for something in the range of two years and $3MM. That he signed for almost $3MM per season came as a bit of a shocker but perhaps the Golden Knights believe he can provide more offense or realized this was just the cost of doing business this year in the NHL. They had already lost names like David Perron, James Neal and Luca Sbisa to free agency and didn’t want to completely unravel a core that was so successful in their first-ever season.
Related: 2018 NHL Free Agent Signing Tracker
What’s Next for Reaves?
Reaves’ arrival in Vegas was initially met with significant criticism but he proved to be a useful part of the team. In the past, he was seen as a player who’d often cross that line of rough, often hurting his team by finding himself in the penalty box. Reaves was assessed just two minor penalties in his last 19 appearances with Vegas and he’ll need to prove he can keep out of trouble if he’s going to be effective as a forward who will take his opponents off of their game.
For Reaves to be effective in Vegas again, he’ll need to continue that style of play, add a little offense and the team will continue to be a winning club if people are not going to view this as an overpay in free agency. If he reverts back to the player he was before joining Vegas, he could wind up being a very expensive player not getting regular minutes in the NHL.