Published Wednesday, June 28, 2023 | 1:15 p.m.
Updated 0 milliseconds ago
The Golden Knights have traded forward Reilly Smith, one of the franchise’s original members, to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a 2024 third-round draft pick, the team announced this afternoon.
The 32-year-old Smith played 399 regular season games with Vegas over six seasons and made 88 playoff appearances. Smith was acquired on the night of the 2017 expansion draft in a trade with the Florida Panthers — pending that the Golden Knights selected Jonathan Marchessault from Florida — for a fourth-round pick in 2018.
Smith was one of six remaining Golden Knights from the inaugural season that played a role in winning their first Stanley Cup championship earlier this month. He was the second player to receive the Stanley Cup after captain Mark Stone.
The Golden Knights signed Smith to a three-year, $15 million extension ($5 million average annual value) last July. While Smith could have tested free agency and received more substantial offers elsewhere, he was committed to Vegas.
“Honestly, my No. 1 goal was to stay here, play here,” Smith said on July 13. “My main goal was to get a deal to play here. I didn’t put too much thought into that, to be honest.
“I feel like I put my heart and soul into this organization. I’m very fortunate they noticed that and gave me the opportunity to come back here and chase the goal we started five years ago.”
The Penguins will be Smith’s fifth team of his 13-year NHL career, but nothing will rival his success with the Golden Knights.
Smith totaled 286 of his 477 career points in Vegas and was a durable player for the Golden Knights. The 26 games he missed in the 2022 season were the most ever missed in his career. Smith missed 28 games total in his other five seasons.
The Golden Knights are now at approximately $8.46 million with free agency beginning Saturday. Vegas and goalie Adin Hill are reportedly close on a two-year extension at $4.9 million average annual value.
Another $5 million in salary relief could be added should goalie Robin Lehner be placed on long-term injured reserve.
Smith’s departure also opens the door for a potential long-term agreement with unrestricted free-agent forward Ivan Barbashev.
The 27-year-old Barbashev had 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in 21 regular season games with Vegas after acquiring him from the St. Louis Blues prior to the trade deadline. Barbashev had 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) during the 22-game playoff run.
Smith will make his return to Las Vegas on Jan. 20 when the Penguins visit T-Mobile Arena.