LAS VEGAS (AP) — Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt has been suspended for 20 games for violating the NHL's performance-enhancing substances policy.
The league announced the penalty on Sunday.
Schmidt says in a statement he did not intentionally take a banned substance and "will not accept being labeled a cheater." The Golden Knights say they disagree with the suspension and "firmly believe that the presence of a trace of the banned substance was accidental and unintentional."
Schmidt can take part in training camp but is ineligible for preseason games and can't play until Vegas visits Edmonton on Nov. 18.
Agent Matt Keator says Schmidt "is innocent and this is a wrong decision."
The 27-year-old Schmidt led the Golden Knights in ice time last season at 22:14 a game. He had 36 points during the regular season and seven during Vegas' run to the Stanley Cup Final.