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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It didn’t take long for the Vegas Golden Knights to use their newfound cap space Wednesday, with the Stanley Cup champions signing forward Ivan Barbashev to a five-year contract worth $5 million annually.

The Golden Knights were facing a bit of a salary cap conundrum with Barbashev, who told ESPN before the Cup finals that he wanted to remain in Vegas, as a pending unrestricted free agent.

Or they were facing a conundrum until Wednesday afternoon, when they traded veteran forward Reilly Smith and his $5 million cap hit over the next two years to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 2023 third-round pick.

A little more than an hour after the Golden Knights traded Smith, the team announced they had signed Barbashev through the 2027-28 season. Barbashev now joins teammates such as Jack Eichel, Alex Pietrangelo and Mark Stone among the eight players on the Golden Knights roster under contract for at least three more seasons.

Barbashev’s acquisition at the trade deadline didn’t garner as much attention as some other deals, but he jumped right into the Golden Knights’ lineup and was a key cog in their run to the Cup.

A Cup champion in 2019 with the St. Louis Blues, Barbashev, 27, finished with 16 goals and 45 points with the Golden Knights and Blues. But he truly added to his free agent résumé in the postseason, where he posted six goals and 15 points in the first three rounds alone and helped Vegas to its second Western Conference title. In the Knights’ title-winning game on June 13, Barbashev scored his first goal of the Stanley Cup Final, as Vegas cruised to a 9-3 win over the Florida Panthers.

Along the way, his asking price skyrocketed from the team-friendly $2.3 million annual cap hit on the two-year contract he signed with the Blues in 2021, and many teams were believed to have been interested.

“He’s a good player for us,” Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said during the regular season. “He’s a guy who’s not going to get a lot of attention. He’s not flashy.”

Barbashev’s career season came in 2021-22, when he finished with 26 goals and 60 points. A third-liner at certain times in his development with St. Louis, Barbashev is a definitive first- or second-liner now, and is coming off a Vegas run in which he averaged 17:39 time on the ice.

A native of Moscow, Barbashev, a 2014 second-round pick of the Blues, broke into the league in the 2016-17 season.

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Ivan Barbashev stays with Knights, agrees to five-year deal