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John Locher / AP

Golden Knights center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (41) warms up before an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, in Las Vegas.

The Golden Knights announced the return of two players as free agency kicked off this morning across the NHL.

The team announced new contracts today for forwards Tomas Nosek and Brandon Pirri. Nosek will make $1 million in a one-year deal, while Pirri signed for two years at an annual cap hit of $775,000.

Nosek’s new deal was expected. After declining to tender him a qualifying offer, general manager George McPhee said a deal was imminent.

Nosek had a strong defensive season and paired with Pierre-Eduoard Bellemare as one of Vegas’ regular penalty-killing tandems. He had 17 points in eight games.

Pirri was more of a surprise. He was red-hot in the middle of the season with eight goals and 13 points in 11 games from Dec. 20 to Jan. 15. But he only had four goals and five points the rest of the season.

Pirri was a healthy scratch for the first six postseason games, then made his playoff debut in Game 7 when Bellemare was scratched due to injury.

The Golden Knights still have a deal in the works for defenseman Deryk Engelland.

McPhee said last week the team was working out contractual details but expected the 37-year-old to return for his third season in Vegas.

Vegas projects to have $2.575 million in cap space before the Engelland deal and after placing David Clarkson on long-term injured reserve. Vegas still needs to finalize restricted free agent contracts for forward Nikita Gusev and goalie Malcolm Subban.

The Golden Knights lost forward Ryan Carpenter, who signed a three-year contract with an annual cap hit of $1 million with Chicago, and Bellemare, who signed a two-year contract with an annual cap hit of $1.8 million with Colorado.

The Golden Knights also signed Patrick Brown, the 27-year-old captain of the Charlotte Checkers squad that defeated AHL Chicago in the Calder Cup Finals, to a one-year, two-way contract.

Brown had 19 goals and 35 points in 70 regular-season games and 10 points in 11 playoff games. He will make $700,000 if he is in Vegas and $450,000 if in Chicago. He joins former Charlotte teammate Nicolas Roy, who was acquired in the Erik Haula trade, as former Checkers in Vegas.

Among minor leaguers, Vegas lost forward Daniel Carr, who won the AHL regular season MVP, to Nashville, goalie Maxime Lagace to Boston and forwards Tomas Hyka and Brooks Macek to the KHL.

Article written by #LasVegasSun