When the Golden Knights came out of the Expansion Draft, George McPhee liked the roster. He said they had lots of speed, plenty of scoring, depth on defense, and a great goaltender. But there was one thing missing in his mind, something he went out and fixed at the trade deadline in 2018.
Vegas acquired Ryan Reaves (essentially for free), immediately placed him in the lineup, re-signed him to an overpaid deal in July 2018, and he’s been a mainstay in the lineup ever since.
Speaking to Pierre McGuire in an interview on NBC Sports’ new podcast “Our Line Starts,” McPhee explained why he likes having a player like Reaves on his roster.
I think we all enjoy where the game is right now. I don’t care if I ever see another fight again but I like having the threat of a fight in the game to keep people honest. -George McPhee to Our Line Starts Podcast
Reaves has been in three fights in his 104 games with the Golden Knights.
However, the Golden Knights as a team have been in just 11 fights in 144 games since acquiring Reaves, where they were in 11 in 70 games prior to his arrival.
It keeps people honest in this game and can sometimes keep the temperature down when you need to keep it down because we’re carrying sticks and it’s a physical game. -McPhee
Gallant took Reaves out of the lineup a bit in the playoffs the first season, but aside from that, he’s been a constant. Hearing this from the GM (or whatever he actually is now) and knowing the head coach’s affinity for big #75, that will probably continue for as long as he’s able to go.