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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

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McPhee Likes Deadline Deals, Expect To See Plenty Of Them Next Year

Last week on with our friends at The Vegas Hockey Hotline, George McPhee discussed his thoughts on the trade deadline. At the time the payment wasn’t official so McPhee couldn’t get into specifics but Brian asked him a question about motivation to make a trade. McPhee seemed to be a strong advocate of making deadline moves even if the general manager didn’t necessarily think a deal was needed.

Sometimes you may not feel like you need anything else for your club but your players are expecting something to happen. So psychologically, you’re trying to help them. So you might add something just so they feel like you have even more ammunition. George McPhee, Vegas Hockey Hotline

It makes complete sense with the length, body stress, and travel of a 82 game season, players seemingly assume extra help to push them towards the finish line. Other teams need to break up the trending slide of a disappointing season. Montreal forward Brendan Gallagher joined TSN Montreal this week to explain the emotions players go through during the deadline period. Gally told TSN the trade deadline can be fun to pay attention to.

Probably follow it, just kinda see what goes on around the league and our team. It’s kinda exciting to watch from a different perspective. It’s definitely something that’s on our minds. -Brendan Gallagher, TSN 690

The pesty Canadian sounded like a fan sitting around on the couch all day watching NHL Network. He was excited his team made deals to bring Steve Ott and Brendan Davidson to Montreal.

The good side of that is we don’t lose a roster player we’re just adding guys to our group. You know, that’s always exciting when you get ready for a playoff push. – Brendan Gallagher, TSN 690

Clearly, McPhee and Gallagher are on the same page. The GM is aware players are expecting something to get done. It sounds like a good way to motivate a team late in the season. Which is why we should expect deadline deals annually in Las Vegas. In Washington, McPhee engineered 15 deadline trades, and two midseason deals. That’s 17 straight years McPhee added players to his roster during the season via trade. I can only assume he’ll use that same strategy with the Golden Knights roster. We can expect McPhee to make deals regardless of Vegas’ standings in the Western Conference playoff race. Next year especially, when they likely aren’t headed to the Cup Finals, building for the future will include assets McPhee accrues making trades with contenders.

So, don’t get too attached to the players on the opening night roster. McPhee will find value in each player he acquires to build the Golden Knights roster long term. That means, any of them could be trade bait next season. Maybe, tell your kid to wait a year or two before putting a players name on the back of that new VGK jersey. Or better yet, let’s just fill the stadium with #17 Foley jerseys. (Sorry Ken, The Creator is just too long to put on a sweater)

Deadline Moves Directly Affecting Expansion Lists

The old fax machine that receives official trade paperwork has officially thrown in the towel. Hopefully, the 90’s Brother fax machines have been donated and the NHL is fully state-of-the-art. Maybe it’s so modern, that a hologram Gary Bettman accepts each deal with team GMs. If that’s the case, poor hologram Bettman must be tired from filing deadline trades. Some moves are headline grabbing like the Capitals going all in on Kevin Shattenkirk, while most of the others are page fillers. Some trades could’ve confused hologram Bettman, even Vlade Divac wouldn’t have traded a highly rated prospect like Jonathan Dahlen for Alex Burrows. Questionable trades or not the league still has to confirm the transactions.

Also, over the past few days the Vegas Golden Knights have effected some minor moves that don’t get headlines. Small deals and extensions that only Vegas GM George McPhee would react to. Here are two expansion impacted moves that might have gone under the radar.

The first move was a rare player for player deal. Montreal shipped underwhelming center David Desharnais to Edmonton for 25 year-old defenseman Brandon Davidson. Desharnais could be the only guy who gets booed more than Bettman at the Bell Centre. The 30 year-old center has disappointed Habs fans since he signed a $14M deal. Davidson was an underused blue liner that was on his way out of Edmonton anyways. Many believed Davidson would draw attention from the Golden Knights which could’ve forced Edmonton’s hand. The move worked well for Montreal, in fact they were willing to retain 20% of Desharnais’ contract to trade for Davidson. Former QMJHL scout and analyst Simon Boisvert praised Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin but didn’t understand Edmonton’s rush.

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Translating NHL’s Rules And Regulations On Vegas Transactions

252 days ago the NHL announced Vegas as the league’s 31st franchise. Today, the NHL announced Vegas as officially the league’s 31st franchise. There’s a difference there, and it involved $500 million dollars of The Creator’s money, but we don’t have to worry about it anymore, thank goodness.

What we do have to worry about is what has changed between yesterday and 12:04 this afternoon when the Golden Knights sent out the press release confirming the final payment has cleared and have become a “fully operational member of the National Hockey League.”

With the announcement the league put out a list of rules and regulations about exactly what George McPhee and the Golden Knights are able to do now that they are fully operational. Unfortunately their rules are written in some sort of jibberish laywery talk which is nearly impossible for English speaking humans to understand. (Yes, I did just say lawyers aren’t humans.) Luckily, SinBin.vegas is here to translate. Here we go!

**There’s an acronym glossary at the bottom**

Bona Fide Transactions: Effective today, Vegas may now enter into Trades and Waiver Transactions or sign Players to NHL SPCs in accordance with CBA Section 50.8(d) or a Player Transfer Agreement (a “bona fide transaction”). Any bona fide transactions involving current Players must specify the identity of each and every such Player(s) at the time the transaction is entered into.

Translation – Vegas can make trades and sign players. They just can’t cheat the CBA and have to tell the league when they make trades or sign players.

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Final Payment Clears; Vegas Official And Free To Make Moves

Update 3 (12:07 PM) – Official statement from The Creator via Golden Knights press release.

Today we reached another significant milestone in our team’s history – the Vegas Golden Knights are officially a National Hockey League franchise. It is an incredibly exciting day for our organization and we would not be here without the continued support from our fans. In February of 2015 we started our season ticket drive. We asked Las Vegans to put ticket deposits down for a team that didn’t exist in an arena that hadn’t been built and they came through in a big way. The progress we have made together in these last two short years is remarkable. Now that we are official, we look forward to continuing this momentum and building a team that our fans and our community will be proud of.

Update 2 (11:29 AM)

Update (8:18 AM) – “We are aware of the reports, we would issue a formal announcement if and when it is finalized.” -Eric Tosi, VP of Communications

Apparently that mountain of paperwork holding up the Golden Knights from participating in the trade deadline this season has been signed, sealed, and delivered.
As reported by SportsNet’s John Shannon, the final payment of the $500 million expansion fee has cleared and the Vegas Golden Knights are officially a fully operational NHL franchise.

They are free to participate in the trade deadline which is at noon today. They can also sign college free agents, European players, or any other unsigned player.

Looking forward to getting into the office. –George McPhee, GM

McPhee can agree to any trade not involving Vegas actually taking on a player. In other words, Vegas can agree TO select or NOT TO select a player at the Expansion Draft in June in exchange for draft picks which will be reported as “future considerations.”

This comes as a bit of a surprise as The Creator mentioned in an interview with myself on KXNT Tuesday that the payment would not make it in time. McPhee also resigned to the fact that he’d have to deal in “gentlemen’s agreements” rather than official deals. Apparently the league woke up and realized what we’ve been saying all along, there’s really no reason to keep Vegas out any longer.

This news also means McPhee will be able to attend the general managers meetings beginning on March 6th.

2017 Draft Being Compared To Draft That Killed The Thrashers; Beware McPhee

The 1999 NHL Entry Draft… regarded as the worst in NHL history. Here’s the scary part, draft analysts have been pulling out the ’99 term to describe this year’s rookie draft. Even hockey’s most positive analyst isn’t exactly pumped about the prospects available to the Golden Knights in their first ever Entry Draft.

This year’s draft appears to have considerably less sizzle and marquee value than each of the last two that featured the Connor McDavid versus Jack Eichel rivalry in 2015 and the Auston Matthews sweepstakes in 2016. –Bob McKenzie, TSN

Okay, fine. Its not like years past, but how bad could it possibly be?

The last time we had a draft like this, in terms of level of athletic competition was ’99… worst draft in the the history of the league -Pierre McQuire, TSN 690

Oh God, he did it, he said ’99, it’s got to be that bad. Only 16 first round draft picks in ’99 played a total of 82 games. In 1998, 23 out 27, and in 2000, 21 of 30 first-rounders skated for a minimum of 82 games. Sure, we’ve been touting ‘Number one Nolan‘ and ‘Nico the Knight‘ but after ’99, anything is possible. Scouts could easily be wrong on Patrick and Hischier. Analysts are expecting so little, Vegas should feel lucky to be in the mix for two potential goal scorers. If June’s amateur draft is anything like 18 years ago, Vegas should start focusing on 2018’s draft. You think the hockey world is being too dramatic? Here, remind yourself of the negative impact the ’99 draft had.

1999: Top Ten breakdown

1 – Patrik Stefan/Center – Atlanta

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Ilya Bryzgalov, Former Wrangler, Re-Opens “Distractions” Can Of Worms

Outspoken former goalie and current hockey analyst Ilya Bryzgalov has been out of the NHL since the conclusion of the 2014-15 season yet his voice is still an interesting one when it comes to Vegas Golden Knights matters.

The Russian who is “not afraid of anything… but bears,” recently lobbied for a job with the Golden Knights in an interview with SportsNet, but it was his comments on distractions that may need to be taken seriously.

The young ones with the cash? Las Vegas can provide lots of scenes, know what I mean? Not many young guys can say, ‘It’s not for me. I have things to do here.’ We’ll see how much trouble can be in Las Vegas. But! I think it can be a fun place to play. –Ilya Bryzgalov to Luke Fox of SportsNet

Bryzgalov tried out for the Wranglers in 2013 and practiced with the team for two weeks before being released. He said ECHL players don’t have the money to get themselves into trouble, but believes NHL players are a different story.

It’s tough to tell how serious he was being in the conversation, because in the previous sentence he actually said he hopes George McPhee reads the article and gives him a chance, but either way, coming from a former player it has to hold a bit of weight.

During the NHL Awards in June, Brett Burns, Jamie Benn, and Ryan Kesler all went on record saying distractions won’t be an issue in Vegas any more than any other city. However, none of them have actually lived and played in Vegas, even if for just a short period like Bryzgalov.

It’s possible Bryzgalov was just trying to have some fun, like when he pondered the size of the universe on HBO, or it’s possible he’s being serious. Either way, it’s a story that won’t go away until players make it.

SinBin.vegas Podcast #56: Open House Reax

After spending an the day in its entirety at T-Mobile Arena at the 24 hour open house, the guys are back in the studio talking all things VGK. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • Racist joke on local hip hop station in Vegas.
  • The successes of the open house.
  • Getting fans of other teams to learn to love to Golden Knights.
  • Significance of the final payment.
  • Who’s fault is it?
  • Signing college free agents. Looking for a splash or a role player?

And much more…

We are on iTunes as well as Stitcher. Subscribe now!

itunes                 stitcher-icon-100x100

A Look At The Best Available KHL Free Agents

Over the past few years Kontinental Hockey League free agents have become effective for clubs like Chicago, Montreal and Toronto. Think of names like Alexander Radulov, Artemi Panarin, or Nikita Zaitsev. The KHL is a very deep league with budding talent waiting to hit North America. For the players looking for contracts, the questions will be about money, ice time and team direction. Players like Radulov made great money back in Russia, but he wanted to be in the league with the world’s best. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few KHL free agents that are looking to make the jump this offseason.

Vadim Shipachyov

The 29-year-old center toyed around with the NHL last offseason but ended up signing an extension with his team SKA Saint Petersburg. Shipachyov posted a monster regular season with 26 goals and 76 points in 50 games. SKA benefited most as they ended the season with only 8 regulation losses. Shipachyov plays on a team full of NHL stars and veterans, which include Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk and Slava Voynov. NHL teams showed interest last year but the Russian decided to stay home. This summer it’ll be tough to turn down the multiple offerings he’ll get from North America teams. Hockey analyst Rob Vollman came up with a hockey league conversion rating for the world’s different leagues. One KHL point converts to .80 NHL points. Using that equation Shipachyov is a potential 70 point NHL player. That’s one attractive free agent. The only thing that’ll keep him out of Las Vegas is the multiple contracts he’ll have offered. If teams believe he can produce like Radulov, expect Shipachyov to be looking for $5-6 million a year. Might be a bit rich for the Golden Knights in a year in which they aren’t expected to do much.

Vladimir Tkachev

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Practice Facility Tour Pictures

The Vegas Golden Knights Practice Facility in Downtown Summerlin just across from Red Rock Casino is set to open in the middle of August. Senior VP and facility project manager Murray Craven took me through the site on February 23rd. Here are all of the pictures.

First Floor Blueprint (click the images below to zoom in)

 

Second Floor Blueprint (click the images below to zoom in)

Finished product drawing

Team entrance, looking into players lounge

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A Look At The Best Available College Free Agents

It’s rare that a top prospect goes undrafted in the amateur draft. There are seven rounds, 30 players selected (31 now) which is plenty to restock all of the NHL rosters and their AHL and ECHL affiliates.  However, many college free agent players have become impactful NHL’ers over the past. Adam Oates, Ed Belfour, Dan Boyle, Tyler Bozak, Conor Sheary and Torey Krug were all NCAA free agents. You can call it great or poor scouting but either way there’s value with some NCAA’s nomads.

March 1st is the date teams can dive into the college free agent market and sign any player that has gone undrafted after three years of eligibility. Vegas will be able to join the party whenever that final payment clears, which appears now to be closer to the 6th than the 1st. It shouldn’t make a big difference in the case of college free agents because every one of the Original 30 have passed on these players at least once, probably two or three times.

The other way players can become free agents is if they fail to come to terms with a team that selected them. Jimmy Vesey and Kevin Hayes were both players that were drafted but couldn’t come to terms with their original teams. Both players signed with the Rangers and are a major part of their core. Can GM George McPhee sign a March prospect that others passed on? Here are this year’s top prospects who remain free agents.

Josh Healey

TSN’s Bob McKenzie wrote about the Ohio State Buckeye a few weeks back that contained one of the coolest scouting reports.

Hits too hard for college hockey. His game will be better suited to pro. -NHL Scout

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