The club of NHL general managers is a small fraternity. A group of 31 that are active and no more than 150 or so in the century long history of the league. (Someone count em for me, seemed like a lot of work.)
This small group leads to a familiarity and at times an understanding that what goes around comes around. Scratch my back now, and I’ll scratch your back later. Well it appears Buffalo GM Tim Murray scratched the back of George McPhee while with the Capitals, and the Sabres may be ready to cash in on a favor from 2014.
I’ve had a conversation or two with George on who I wouldn’t like to lose and how we can make that happen. Maybe I’ve done a deal with George in the past that was considered somewhat of a favor. Maybe I’ve had a conversation with him reminding him of that, and he remembered the wordage of that deal word-for-word, which I was very happy to hear. –Tim Murray, Buffalo Sabres GM to WGR-AM 550
That deal he’s talking about went like this.
The favor was in Buffalo taking Klesla, who never even stepped foot in Buffalo. He and his $3 million contract went back home to the Czech Republic, and came off McPhee’s cap.
You only do a favor when it suits you. You do a favor for somebody when you can afford to do that favor now, knowing that you might need something down the road. That’s what favors are. -Murray
So what do the Sabres want? Likely Expansion Draft protection in the form of the Golden Knights taking on a bad contract. Say maybe Tyler Ennis, Zach Bogosian, or Matt Moulson. Or maybe Murray’s thinking about something else, maybe he’s finally had enough with SinBin.vegas’ second favorite player (after Reid Duke of course) Evander Kane, and McPhee will overpay slightly to return the favor on Klesla.
One has to wonder though, what does The Creator think of these favors? It’s probable this isn’s the only one McPhee brought with him from Washington. But no matter if it’s just this one or others around the league, should they really be a Vegas problem?
Here’s what I’d say if I were McPhee’s new boss, “Tell Mr. Murray, and anyone else who thinks you owe them something, you’re not in the home of checks and balances anymore, now you’re in Vegas, and here, the house always wins.”
Interesting note about this story. Rostislav Klesla was acquired by the Capitals just one day before he was flipped to the Buffalo. The deal that brought him to Washington… was for Martin Erat. The gift that just keeps giving. Sorry George, it’s not going to go away.