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“Make All Kinds Of Deals With Clubs” – Former Expansion GM’s Advice

Sportsnet’s Gare Joyce, noted friend of Vegas GM George McPhee, launched a new series on Canadian giant’s website today called What To Expect When You’re Expanding. The idea of the series, much like the baby books, is to gather stories from former Expansion GM’s so McPhee can see “how good he and his team have it.”

The first in the series was a set of stories from former Atlanta Flames general manager Cliff Fletcher. His story includes whining about being hired too late, not having a staff, competing with another team, competing with another league, being forced to take bad players, wanting to trade all his players, and much more. Sounds like a lot of bitching, and it is, but it’s a good read, trust me.

At the end of the story Fletcher, who went on to win a Stanley Cup in 1989 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004, offers up a paragraph of advice for McPhee. Once you sort through the parts where he complains about the Flames situation, you end up with one strong piece of wisdom.

Still, the key things are the fact that there’s fewer players teams can protect [and that] Vegas is coming in alone. He has an opportunity to make all kinds of deals with clubs. -Cliff Fletcher, Atlanta Flames founding GM

Deals, deals, and more deals! And we’re going to win!

But seriously, Fletcher’s point is spot on. Once the NHL’s protection lists are submitted, George McPhee has rights to every single exposed player in the Expansion Draft. 50+ goalies, hundreds of defenseman, pushing 1,000 skaters, McPhee owns every last one of them… for three days.

Due to the fact that Vegas is coming in alone, all exposed players can only wind up in two places; back where they came from or in Las Vegas. That is unless deals are made, and that’s where McPhee’s power comes in.

Not only can he strike deals to benefit himself directly, McPhee will have the ability to draft and trade players, essentially setting up three way deals. These deals are where the real value lies under these Expansion Rules.

You can do your mock drafts, and we will, and project which players will eventually hit the ice in Vegas, but they’ll all be insignificant in the long term success of the franchise compared to the added assets McPhee is able to bring in via trade.

Any player a team exposed but doesn’t want to lose, McPhee can acquire draft picks for him. Any player a team wants selected, McPhee can make a deal for him. Any player that’s coveted by another team, McPhee’s the conduit to that trade. The number of possibilities is endless and the bounty on each one doesn’t need to be that high.

If Vegas comes out of the Expansion Draft with 15 extra draft picks, even if many are in the late rounds, over the next three years, they’ll have the freedom to move around on draft day like no other team in the history of the NHL.

That’s value, that’s strength, and that’s not something our founding GM will ever have to whine about.

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6 Comments

  1. James

    @Ken Boehlke
    Can you clear something up for me? The trade deadline is on Feb. 28, 2017. When can GMs start trading again? If Jim Rutherford wanted to keep Marc-André Fleury for the playoff run couldn’t he trade him to another team for pennies on the dollar after the season? Rutherford would have to accept pennies on the dollar because he’s not dealing from a position of strength. A bit like when a team deals a pending free agents rights to another team for a late round pick. This would dilute the pool of players available in the expansion draft

    • To the best of my knowledge, after the trade deadline, GMs are not allowed to trade players until after the Stanley Cup Finals are completed. Usually it wraps up around the second week of June, not too far before the Expansion Draft. In a way you are correct in the fact that it can water down the expansion pool, but no matter what the same number of players are going to be protected either way. If MAF is traded, he’ll have to be protected by his new team. Plus, Vegas has the ability to be a part of these deals and get something in return.

      Also, during the Expansion Draft three day window, trades will not be allowed between two teams not participating in the draft. So there can’t be any post protection shenanigans.

      • lazyteeds

        Dude, you gotta educate yourself if you’re going to run a hockey blog. Players can be traded after the deadline, but if they are, they are not eligible for that years playoffs.

  2. James

    @Ken Boehlke
    ‘To the best of my knowledge, after the trade deadline, GMs are not allowed to trade players until after the Stanley Cup Finals are completed. Usually it wraps up around the second week of June, not too far before the Expansion Draft.’

    I thought that too. Being fairly new to the sport, I was surprised to see the Florida Panthers trade Erik Gudbranson in the midst of the playoffs last season. On May 25th, 2016, Gudbranson was traded along with a 2016 fifth-round pick to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Jared McCann, a second, and a fourth round pick, all from 2016.

    The Florida Panthers were eliminated from the playoffs on April 24. The Stanley Cup Finals concluded on June 12.

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