The Utah Hockey Club have locked in a key member of their young core ahead of the 2024-25 campaign, signing Barrett Hayton to a two-year, $5.3 million contract on Monday, general manager Bill Armstrong announced. It comes in at an AAV of $2.65 million, keeping the former first-round pick in Salt Lake City until the end of the 2025-26 season.

The 24-year-old was selected No. 5 overall by the now-defunct Arizona Coyotes back in the 2018 NHL Draft. He scored three goals and 10 points in 33 games for the Coyotes last year.

“We are very pleased to sign Barrett to an extension,” Armstrong said in the official release. “Barrett is a reliable two-way center who is strong in the face-off circle, and he is a great complement down the middle to our high-skilled forwards. We look forward to having him back with our organization.”

Over 209 National Hockey League games since breaking into the league in 2019, Hayton has amassed 35 goals and 84 points. His best campaign came in 2022-23, when the Peterborough native played his first full 82-game slate and scored 19 goals and 43 points in the process.

He'll be looking to match or exceed those totals in Utah HC's first season in the league, in front of fans that have been starved for professional hockey since the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Now locked up for at least two seasons, Hayton joins an excellent young core that should be knocking on the door of the Stanley Cup Playoffs during that time.

Barrett Hayton part of promising young core in Utah

Arizona Coyotes center Barrett Hayton (29) looks on in the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Mullett Arena.
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Although it was another tough season for the Coyotes in 2023-24 — the franchise hasn't been to the postseason since 2019-20 — there is hope that this roster, as it continues to improve, can make some noise in the Central Division next year.

That's especially true after the additions of two-time Stanley Cup champion Mikhail Sergachev, as well as John Marino. Both defenseman were brought over in trades earlier this offseason, and will help to shore up a Utah HC blue line that struggled last year.

On the offensive side, there is no lack of young talent. With Clayton Keller, Nick Schmaltz, Logan Cooley and Dylan Guenther leading the charge and all hungry to get back to the playoffs, this roster will at the least be fun to watch in 2024-25.

And the home crowd at their back figures to be electric, unlike it was at the undersized Mullett Arena. Fans in Utah are thrilled to have a hockey team, and that should be very evident as soon as the team's first regular-season contest scheduled for October 8. The squad will host Connor Bedard and the Chicago Blackhawks in that contest, the first game for Ryan Smith's Smith Entertainment Group in the state of Utah.

It will certainly be intriguing to see how the franchise does in its first campaign in Salt Lake City.