We all knew George McPhee was relatively laid back when he got introduced as General Manager wearing jeans and sneakers. Listening to Ken and Dana interview McPhee, I pictured him feet up, leaning back, smoking an Arturo Fuente. The GM was so easygoing that it didn’t even sound like an interview. Which means you have to give my fellow SinBin’ers praise for making the environment loose like a Caesar’s Cigar Bar. Enough about tobacco, let’s get down to what the cool, collected McPhee said.
One thing I’ve been completely hung up on is the expansion draft. Who, what, when, how, and… who? Specifically, the players that fit his plan.
We’ll be real aggressive with this, really know these teams well, identify who might be vulnerable and at risk of losing a good player and try to get him.
What are the ideal player contracts to absorb?
If the guy doesn’t really fit your model but he has value around the league and there’s nothing else that’s exposed from that team that’s better, you take that guy and you turn it into an asset. You can take that guy and then maybe turn it into a real good pick.
How will you balance first year ambitions vs future development?
I’m not taking on any bad contracts unless someone wants to pay us to take on a bad contract. I’m really not interested in that, we’ll claim somebody else if we have to.
My challenge is putting a good hockey team on the ice. I think everything else will take care of itself. (The city) has everything, everything’s here. All we have to do is get the right players, get the right coaches, and build this team, and people here are going to love it.
Like McPhee said he’s not going to talk too much about strategy, because it might help other teams. Something we all have to realize, 30 other teams will make things difficult for Las Vegas. Teams may be happy to play on the Strip, but don’t expect league GM’s to expose any gifts.
Often times GM’s oversell their excitement about the city they landed. I’m sure Winnipeg’s Kevin Cheveldayoff, and Columbus’s Jarmo Kekalainen are just happy to collect a pay check. McPhee however, truly sounds thrilled to be here for a long time.
There would be, outside of my family, no greater accomplishment for me than coming to a market like this, building a great team, and winning a championship. I would die a happy man.
Repeating from last week, McPhee wont have trouble selling Las Vegas to NHL players
Las Vegas is a great brand, it’s got a great name around the world. When you look at what’s transpired here with where the arena is, and it’s a phenomenal facility, might be the most beautiful rink I’ve seen in the league and it’s right on the Strip. It’s seven minutes from the airport. When you look at where that is what and what it is, and then take a look at where the practice facility is going in and what kind of practice facility that is going to be, I’ve seen the blue prints, t’s going to be amazing, again probably the best one in the league, in a suburb where players are going to want to live, where it’s easy to get back and forth from the main rink, in a place that’s got terrific weather, and again don’t sell that state tax thing short it’s a big deal to players. If we do our job and put a good team on the ice, this could be a heck of a franchise for a long time.
From the no state tax benefits, to the state-of-the-art facilities, NHL players will be living large in Southern Nevada. Las Vegas is a special market, and McPhee seems to have fallen in love with it already. Something the GM expects will happen to players.
Listening to McPhee I get a sense of honesty, and confidence. He’s truthful on his future vision, rather than a short-term buzz. He knows his responsibilities, and long hours ahead, but doesn’t seem stressed. Like McPhee casually said to himself back in 2014 about the NHL to Las Vegas rumors.
The very first time that someone mentioned Las Vegas getting NHL hockey, what was your thought? -Ken Boehlke