The Brandon Wheat Kings already knew they would be without star netminder Jiri Patera for the coming year, as the veteran goaltender completed his junior career during the COVID-19 shortened 2019-20 season. They just didn’t know where he would be playing. One of the best success stories of the 2018 CHL Import Draft, Patera, now 21, signed a three-year, entry-level contract with Kelly McCrimmon’s Vegas Golden Knights this past week.
Patera’s deal carries an $800K annual average value and cap hit, while boasting a $700K salary in 2020-21 in the NHL, and a $70K annual salary if playing in the American Hockey League with the newly minted Henderson Silver Knights. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Praha, CZE. product will see a $67K signing bonus annually on July 1.
“What a great feeling to have signed my first NHL contract with the Vegas Golden Knights,” Patera posted on his Instagram and Twitter pages. “I’d like to thank everyone who supported me along the way.”
Suiting up for two seasons as the Wheat Kings’ No. 1 backstop, Patera went 46-32-9 in 89 career games for Brandon, finishing his Western Hockey League career with a combined 2.95 goals against average, a .913 save percentage and six shutouts. The left-handed catching goaltender was selected 104th overall in the second round of the 2018 CHL Import Draft by the Wheat Kings.
Patera’s best work came during the 2019-20 season, where he helped the Wheaties with a personal 24-12-4 record, six shutouts, a .921 save percentage, as well as a Wheat Kings franchise record 2.55 goals against average. The former sixth round selection of the Golden Knights was named the WHL’s Eastern Conference Goaltender of the year for 2019-20.