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McPhee’s Plans May Not Match The Owner’s In Terms Of When To Win

Everybody’s got their own ideas on how to build the Golden Knights, how good to make them out of the gate, and how long it should take to bring Lord Stanley’s Cup to The Valley of Hockey (not letting that nickname die…yet).

However, there’s only one man who really controls the answers to those three questions, George McPhee. The problem is, I’m not so sure he and his boss are on the exact same page.

I have never said I’m going to be patient about winning (laughter). I think that our General Manager has maybe expressed that he wants to build from the ground up and he wants to build from the draft forward, I’ve always said my goal is playoffs in three and Stanley Cup in six. –The Creator on The Vegas Hockey Hotline

Read that how you may, but before you make up your mind, let me throw in another straw to stir up the drink.

When George McPhee was hired on July 13th no contract details were made available. No dollar amount, no term length, nothing. Maybe it’s because no one asked, right?

So, three weeks ago I sent in an inquiry to the Golden Knights asking for the information. I was quickly told that most NHL GM’s salaries are not made public, which is true. But term length is a different story, that’s made public by many organizations. See Pittsburgh, Montreal, and Chicago to name a few. So how long is McPhee’s contract?

We will not be disclosing the term length -Eric Tosi, VP of Communications

Despite my examples of team’s disclosing the information, this is by no means unprecedented in the NHL, a league that still allows an amputated foot to be called a “lower body injury.” The Arizona Coyotes are infamous for including the phrase “as per Club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed,” in every press release they send out.

But it does beg the question, why go down that road? What is there to hide about how long McPhee is under contract in Vegas?

The Creator wants to see a Stanley Cup in six years, he wants his franchise in the playoffs in three. McPhee’s been a bit more vague on his timeline.

There’s always going to be pressure on a GM no matter the length of his deal. McPhee himself was once quoted saying, “in this job, you’re 24 hours away from being fired almost any time.” But in reality, a contract that runs through 2020 (year three) looks a lot different than one that runs through 2023 (year six).

What happens if the Golden Knights aren’t in the playoffs in the 2019-2020 season? What if they haven’t even won a playoff series by 2023, the year they are supposed to be hoisting the Cup?

McPhee’s patience may very well hinge on the length of his deal. His quotes about building through the Entry Draft, and doing it the right way may be all fine and well when Reid Duke is the only player on the roster, and the first game is still six months away. But the end date on that contract will undoubtably impact the style of management he takes in building the Golden Knights.

Unless they change their minds, we’ll never know how long that initial McPhee contract lasts, but odds are, his actions in year three will give us all the clues we need to figure it out.

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21 Comments

  1. PhiSig 150

    There are so many different ways to sell this team and get the city excited and behind the Knights outside of making the playoffs (unfortunately it doesn’t seem like Foley cares). I really hope we don’t bury ourselves in horrible contracts in order to meet Foley’s unrealistic timeline. The draft is where the superstar is going to come from. We probably won’t get much if any star power in the expansion draft. Any even middling free agent we’re going to have to vastly overpay to come here. Which stars exactly do people expect to come running here? Is being the 8th seed in 3 years really the end all be all for people?? Foley’s expectations are ridiculous (tattoo bet needs to happen Ken especially since he’s so adamant about Cup in 6). Be Patient. Stay the course. Trust the process. Hinkie on ice.

    • RJ

      There is a HUGE difference between taking on terrible contracts and tanking. No one is advocating mortgaging our future before we even have a present.

      That said, there is also a huge difference between losing games on purpose and making smart roster moves.

      Playoffs in 3 is a great goal and I think it should be the mantra when building this team.

      By the way, Hinkie didn’t work on hardwood, I can’t imagine why anyone would want that on ice. Your Hinkie on ice motto is about as effective as Hindenburg on ice or Titanic on ice.

      • PhiSig 150

        Jury is still out on Hinkie. They fired him before he could see the process come to fruition and he made future moves that still have taken place (future draft picks). Even if it ends up not working it still doesn’t mean it wasn’t the right idea. Tank is a bad word. No one is saying to intentionally lose. Let’s say I want the team to build smartly not rashly. Playoffs in 3 might lead to drafting and signing the wrong type of players for the big picture, limit our assets (cap space, draft picks, prospects) and make future moves more difficult (less cap for free agents less to offer up in trades, etc.) Also what if we don’t make it in 3. Do we fire McPhee? Fire the head coach? Get fleeced in a trade to bring in someone who might get us into the playoffs? As always love debating with you RJ almost as much as I love Hinkie. How about instead of Hinkie on Ice we call it money puck. Would that make you feel better? Trust the Process will always be my mantra. Playoffs in 3 is most likely not going to happen and if it does what did we sacrifice to get there? 8th seed vs. landing the next McDavid?

        • RJ

          I love the money puck analogy, that I can get on board with.

          That said, hinging all our hopes on a McDavid style player is unacheivable. Crosby was drafted in 05, McDavid in 15, I’m not happy with a strategy that starts with us losing until ’25 just to get a lottery chance to draft the next generational talent.

          • PhiSig 150

            So I guess my question is how to get in the playoffs in 3 years and still build for the future? I’m new to hockey so help me out. I don’t see a potential playoff roster coming from the expansion draft from everything I read. Not enough offense. It sounds like players take longer to develop than say in the NBA where some NBA rookies can have huge impacts on their teams right off the bat. So even if we get #1 and Patrick turns to be an absolute stud I don’t think he can be counted to lead this team to the playoffs in 3 years. I don’t see top free agents tying to become part of an expansion project. We can go the trade route but are you willing to flip a top 3-5 pick or multiple good picks for a more established player? Give me the Knights make the playoffs in 3 blueprint RJ. I’m just not seeing it.

          • James

            @RJ
            How about the Kings? They drafted Quick, Doughty and Kopitar. The Blackhawks drafted Crawford, Keith, Toews and Kane. Strong spines. The best way to build a roster is through the draft.

      • James

        @RJ
        I get the impression that the impatient Creator is going to try to speed up the process by making a big splash in free agency down the road. McPhee wants to methodically build through the draft, but he follows orders from the Creator.

        Vegas has pressure to win quickly because it’s a non-traditional hockey market. Quebec Nordique fans would have more patience regarding building through the draft. Constant loosing could kill hockey in the desert. Oh, by the way the Raiders are pretty good. No pressure to win

        • PhiSig 150

          I’m curious how many years people think we have to make this work out here. I say we have at least 15. They’re still trying to make Arizona work. Atlanta got like 12 years before they moved and they’re not a tourist destination like we are. It’s not like we need to be a cup contender in 5 or we’ll fold up and move to Quebec. I guess I’m just wondering what the rush to win is. We have a brand new team. Sell the sport. Sell the experience. Sell the youth movement. Sell community togetherness. Good god do we really not have anyone in the f**king organization that can promote this team properly? I just don’t see the pressure to win quickly outside of Foley’s expectations and by him being so tunnel visioned on winning he’s not paying enough attention to everything else. 8 months and what do we have to show for it? A name that got mixed, at best, reactions, a logo that was received positively for the most part, a couple of open houses, 1 skate rink event, 1 LGBT event, 1 event to target the market in China, a monthly infomercial no one watches and a few hats and couple of t-shirts/sweat shirts. Bang up job guys.

          • RJ

            It is tough to promote a last place team. No matter how good our PR is no one is going to get excited about cheering for their team to lose so they get a better lottery pick.

        • James

          @PhiSig 150
          ‘Give me the Knights make the playoffs in 3 blueprint RJ. I’m just not seeing it.’

          There’s a lot of parity in the NHL. It’s not impossible if McPhee makes some shrewd moves, and there’s good coaching. Stranger things have happened. The NHL is a lot less predictable than the NBA. Just look at the playing surface. Totally unpredictable

          • PhiSig 150

            Here’s my Hinkie on Ice/Money Puck/Frozen Process

            First I’m going to assume that Foley has assembled a talented and deep collection of great hockey minds who will be able to deftly manage the cap, evaluate young talent, excel in trade negotiations, etc. Sin Bin says they’re all top shelf and I have no reason to think that Ken and Jason are lying to me (even Chick-Fil-A turned out to be as good as advertised).

            1. Expansion Draft- full agreement with Ken accumulate as many draft picks as possible. Some to cash in over the next 3 years and a few potential lotto tickets for the future (unprotected 1sts 5 or 6 years down the line). Take on bad contracts for picks but none exceeding 3 years in length. Let teams protect additional players for draft consideration. Pick players for other teams to flip for more picks. Coming out of the expansion draft I want a shit ton of draft picks, 4 or 5 intriguing prospects, 1 player with some name recommendation (Fleury?), and warm bodies to fill out my roster.

            2. Entry draft- hopefully we get lucky and land top 2 pick otherwise trade down staying inside top ten and accumulate more picks.

            3. Hire either a coach with a proven track record of developing talent or an up and comer with innovative ideas that you feel confident can get the most out of prospects. He gets a 5 year guarantee. Year 5 being his eval year.

            4. Trade deadline- We’re sellers this year and year two. Our main purpose is to be a third party to help facilitate trades and in the process acquiring more picks.

            5. Regular season- try to win each and every game but doing it with the youngsters playing heavy minutes and down the stretch. Youth development is first and foremost but you’re also trying to teach the kids to win at a NHL level. Play scrappy hockey. Enjoy the wins and accept the losses and better our odds in the draft. Hope 2018 and 2019 we get lucky getting in the top 3 both years and grab our franchise cornerstones to build around.

            6. Look for undervalued players, hungry players looking for opportunities, wise vets that can mentor the kids basically players at good value. Easier said than done I know but time to earn that money. I’m ok with slightly overpaying as long as those players are still in their early to mid 20s.

            7. Year three (perk up RJ) kick the tires around the league during the trade deadline and see if you can find a disgruntled superstar whose contract may be coming up soon and see if you can cash in some of the assets you’ve been building up over the first couple of years. If not in the offseason we start throwing our weight around in free agency. Year 4 rinse and repeat. Year 5 is when we really start to gel and compete. Next few years we get closer and closer to the cup. By year 10 I want to be in the Stanley Cup finals with mostly homegrown talent.

            I showed you mine now show me yours RJ. What is the RJ 3 year model of success?

  2. James

    ‘I have never said I’m going to be patient about winning (laughter). I think that our General Manager has maybe expressed that he wants to build from the ground up and he wants to build from the draft forward, I’ve always said my goal is playoffs in three and Stanley Cup in six. –The Creator on The Vegas Hockey Hotline’

    Red flag. I’m afraid that George McPhee will make short-sighted moves down the road in order to keep his job. Self-preservation. Filip Forsberg was traded for Martin Erat because of this reason.

    The Creator is not getting any younger, but impatience could set this franchise back on the ice. I’m with PhiSig 150. Be Patient. Stay the course. Trust the process. Hinkie on ice.

    • PhiSig 150

      Everyone wants instant gratification and overnight success nowadays. I’m not saying let’s suck for 15 years but building a team from scratch into a team that’ll make the playoffs in 3 and win a cup in 6 is just an insane expectation that’ll probably end up costing McPhee his job and lead to a lot of shit moves that we’ll end up regretting for years to come.

  3. RJ

    Anyone saying ‘Hinkie on ice’ must be a Kings fan because it will only lead to Las Vegas being awful at hockey.

    http://www.nba.com/standings

    Note that the Philadelphia 76ers are 12th in the east and 9 games out of the playoffs. If this is ‘the process’ I’ll take a hard pass.

    • PhiSig 150

      They gave up on him to soon. The next GM undid some of his brilliance. Besides not all of Hinkie’s moves have even taken place yet (Lakers pick for example). Even if it proves to be a failure the philosophy is still sound. He already is in line for his next job by the way. Teams that try to make the playoffs year after year usually get stuck in the middle and never really contend for a ring (even the Spurs “tanked” for Duncan). If we’re a perpetual let’s say 5 to 8 seed but never a true contender ala Memphis with a star or two (Gasol, Conley) but not a transcendent star (Lebron, Curry, Harden, Durant) is that enough to make (Las) Vegas a hockey town? Would you be happy with that outcome??

    • James

      @RJ
      Being a Knicks fan, I am very familiar with quick fixes in order to make the playoffs. It would have been better if they built through the draft.

      I’m a fan of Hinkie, you also need a great deal of luck with the ping pong balls. Luck wasn’t on his side. The extreme idea was fantastic from a pure basketball perspective. It reminds me of the Buffalo Sabres tanking strategy. Tim Murray had the right idea, but he ended up with Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel instead of Aaron Ekblad and Connor McDavid. I guess you should point to the standings and mock him

  4. Cappy

    Creator needs a reality check. He should listen to GMGM.

    • PhiSig 150

      Foley is probably hasn’t had anyone tell him no in decades. Question is does have someone now and will he listen? Hoping the team name isn’t an indication of things to come.

      • RJ

        (Honestly finding myself in agreement with Foley has me wondering if I’m backing the wrong concept)

        • PhiSig 150

          I guess it comes down for me my ideal roster. I would much rather have a young team with a lot of upside and a bright future ahead of them that might take a little longer to be competitive (our team of the future for all intents and purposes) than a team of talented but aging and overpaid vets who can immediately make the playoffs (the team of right now). I could also get excited for a team with a superstar goalie and players that hit hard and play great D and try to impose their will on other teams and eke out wins but might not have a superstar scorer. The 2001 Ravens of the NHL. That could be fun and kind of unexpected for out here. The team needs an identity that the city can get behind it doesn’t necessarily need to be high scoring or an instant contender.

  5. A Fan

    It will be interesting to see how LV supports the team if they do very poorly the first few years. In a perfect world they need to be competitive with signs they are improving. Playoffs in 3 years would be great, not sure that’s a reality, hope I’m wrong though. The draft is the way to go long term for sure. Hopefully we’ll get a good goalie right away, at least keeping games close even if losing early on. Too many blow outs would not be a good thing. As has been mentioned here many times, I wonder how much ‘truth’ we’ll get out of this organization, I’m not feeling very confident about that. Sure hope they get involved with the community, you know the Raiders will. They have 2-3 years to get a step up on the Raiders.

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