Arizona Coyotes Re-Sign Karel Vejmelka, Acquire Bryan Little Contract

Karel Vejmelka
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The Arizona Coyotes have signed pending restricted free agent goalie Karel Vejmelka to a 3-year contract worth $8.175 million, or $2.725 million per season. This contract carries him through the 2024-25 season. The Coyotes also have agreed to trade a fourth-round pick to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for Nathan Smith and Bryan Little‘s contract.

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Arizona Coyotes Sign Karel Vejmelka, Trade for Bryan Little Contract

The Coyotes sign their current starter to a three-year contract at under $3,000,000. As a rookie this season, Karel Vejmelka has played exclusively for the Coyotes. He has posted a 0.905 save percentage, with a 3.35 goals-against average. He has posted a 10-23-1 record while playing in 36 games. Vejmelka has played the majority of his career in the Czech leagues, only coming to the NHL with the Coyotes this season. He was drafted in the 5th round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, 145th overall.

Bryan Little last played an NHL game in the 2019-20 season. It appears that his career came to an unfortunate end with an injury. The Winnipeg Jets have traded the LTIR’d contract to the Arizona Coyotes. The contract has two more years after this one at $5,291,667. The Coyotes help the Winnipeg Jets gain some cap flexibility, and in return get prospect Nathan Smith. Smith is a forward that was taken in the 3rd round in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, 81st overall. This season, Smith has 18 goals and 49 points in 34 games for Minnesota State University in the NCAA.

What This Means For the Future

The Coyotes are locking down some pieces for both the short-term and the long-term future. The Coyotes have their goalie signed for three more seasons and get a good prospect in Nathan Smith to help the Coyotes as they rebuild. All it cost was a cap hit, a fourth-round pick, and providing Winnipeg with cap flexibility. For a team like Arizona that won’t be using their cap it’s a smart move. And with Nathan Smith reportedly not signing in Winnipeg, the Jets give up very little. It’s a deal that works for both sides.

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