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Tag: George McPhee (Page 1 of 15)

High Skill AND High Character

Next week when the Penguins and Predators compete for the best trophy in sports, the next generation will be preparing for Stanley Cup dreams of their own. 18-year-olds from around the globe will be in Buffalo for the NHL Draft Combine lifting weights, long-jumping, and doing extreme cardio tests like the Wingate and VO2. Golden Knights GM George McPhee and Director of Amateur Scouting Scott Luce will be in attendance looking for the sixth overall pick.

It’s a brand-new process for all the scouts on board, and you’re looking at [the] best available [player] that could deliver the best asset possible to the organization. Whether that’s a forward, defenseman or a goalie may vary with each selection. We’ll look at the best asset at that draft slot. That’s what you’re looking to add. -Scott Luce, Vegas Amateur Scouting Director to NHL.com

Luce continued to open up their process to fans and described the perfect candidate. The Golden Knights are looking for prospects with talent, determination and high hockey IQ. Most importantly, Vegas is specifically targeting players with elite skating skills, but it seems like Vegas wont be drafting players on ability only.

We want high-character, low-maintenance type players. It’ll be a good learning curve for the entire staff going to the combine and representing our organization. -Luce

Ah ha. There it is, the key word, high-character. Look across the NHL, successful teams of course have stars, but are full of impact role players. For example, Chris Kunitz went 35 games without a goal before his superb two-goal game seven. The owner of three Stanley Cup rings has dropped major minutes from his second and third Cup. However, a role player like Kunitz impacts the team through his professionalism and leadership. There are countless “character players” in the league that add much more than points. McPhee and Luce will scout for those prospects over a basket of Wild Wings.

We’re going to try and ascertain best practices we’ve used in other various organizations, so I think this year will be a great learning experience for us as a staff. But we want to come out of there with a comfort level with the young players knowing that they have what it takes to be a Vegas Golden Knight. -Luce

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“Good Chance A Third Of The Roster Won’t Be There In October”

Now it’s no secret you come to SinBin.vegas because you’re sure there’s no one on the Internet more informed about the Golden Knights than us. Knowing this, you take everything we say as Gospel. You then spend much of your day preaching what you read and hear on this site to the rest of the valley spreading our wealth of knowledge and making Las Vegas a better place. But… sometimes it’s nice to hear someone much more famous than us say exactly what we’ve been spewing for the past two years to remind you of why you still come here and read this s**t these articles.

Well that someone else just so happens to be the venerable, Pierre LeBrun. In an interview with WGR 550 in Buffalo, which I highly recommend you listen to in its entirety (or at least start at 8:30 when they talk about Vegas), LeBrun spits some hot fire about the upcoming Expansion Draft. And as it turns out, especially if you listen to the SinBin.vegas Podcast, it’s stuff you’ve probably heard before.

Here’s the reality, Vegas is not necessarily going to take the best player available and that’s where everything gets skewed. The reality is, George McPhee is going to do a number of side deals. (Don’t take player X in return for an asset) -Pierre LeBrun

LeBrun wouldn’t put a number on how many he expects to come out of the Expansion Draft, but did mention on multiple occasions that McPhee’s phone has been lit up in the recent weeks and will likely stay that way for the next month.

Once you see the roster remember something else, there’s a real good chance maybe up to a third of those players you see on that list on June 21st aren’t even with Vegas come October. There’s going to be a lot of flipping I think. -LeBrun

And…

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Golden Knights Goalie Coach In Waiting?

The Golden Knights have a “new” goaltending coach, and he’s a familiar name to GM George McPhee. Mike Rosati accepted a position as an amateur goaltending consultant in Vegas… possibly as long ago as August.

According to a newspaper article in Barrie, Ontario, Rosati has been working with Golden Knights goalie coach Dave Prior for quite a while.

Rosati will work under Golden Knights director of goaltending and goalie coach Dave Prior. “We maintained a friendship and relationship over all these years and we always talked about working together one day with an NHL club, so when he got hired by Las Vegas his first phone call was to me to be an assistant,” Rosati added. -Gene Pereira, Barrie Examiner

Rosati was drafted 131st overall in 1988 by the New York Rangers and only played one game in the NHL during his career. It was for the McPhee managed Washington Capitals in 1998 in a game the then starter Olaf Kolzig had to miss due to injury.

Rosati has been the goaltending coach and an assistant coach for the Barrie Colts of the OHL. He also owns a goaltending academy in Canada. He announced via Twitter his position with the Golden Knights the same day the team unveiled their name (November 22nd), but could easily have been on board well before that. The team has yet to announce him as a member of the Golden Knights staff.

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Buyouts: Expansion Draft Antidote For NMCs

The list of players with No Movement Clauses (NMCs) is 66 deep according to a league memo sent out in November. On that list there are names such as Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, and Carey Price. Those guys, along with about 50 others were going to be protected anyway, so the automatic protection rule for the Expansion Draft is no concern for their respective GM’s. But names like Kevin Bieksa, Scott Hartnell, Francois Beauchemin, Ryan Callahan, Jason Pominville, Dan Girardi, and Dion Phaneuf may be a bit of a different story.

In a perfect world for GMs in Anaheim, Columbus, Colorado, Tampa Bay, Minnesota, New York, and Ottawa, each of these players would simply waive their NMC giving the team the freedom it needs to protect the best nine or 11 players possible, whether it includes those guys or not. It doesn’t work that way though.

No Movement Clauses were put into contracts for a reason. Usually, as the name suggests, so the player won’t have to worry about moving. We are always here to tell people how amazing Vegas is, but in this case, it would be best if players with NMCs think this place is some ****hole in the desert. Mandatory protection is the friend of George McPhee and the enemy of every GM with a player holding an NMC who may have otherwise wanted to expose him.

Unfortunately for Vegas, there’s a work around. It’s called a buyout. NHL franchises can essentially terminate the contract of a player by buying them out for 2/3 of the remaining salary. There are a bunch of rules about buyouts, if you are interested, you can read here, but for the sake of this story, and the Expansion Draft they’re irrelevant.

One name on the list jumps off the page as a possible buyout candidate and he currently resides in Colorado.

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Don’t Get Too Excited About Stephane Da Costa

Since the signing of Vadim Shipachyov the Golden Knights have been rumored for just about every international player considering coming over to the NHL. The new name everyone is all excited about is Stephane Da Costa. Some of you might remember Da Costa from the sporadic 47 games he played with Ottawa over four seasons. Pathetically, I’ll admit I only remember the 27-year-old by the violent hit he took from Dion Cuthbert-Phaneuf.

The native Parisian and former Merrimack college standout signed as an undrafted free agent in March of 2011. Da Costa made his NHL debut a couple weeks later. However, he never found success with the Senators, which is why he eventually landed in the KHL. During his time in Ottawa, several red flags were revealed. One in particular that put him in the Ottawa doghouse.

He couldn’t even play in the league two years ago… he wasn’t strong enough. He wasn’t fit enough. His game wasn’t competitive enough to play in the league. –Paul MacLean, Senators Head Coach 10/01/13

From past reports, Da Costa’s reputation took a hit. He skipped rookie camp and showed up out of shape in 2011. Not a great sign for an undrafted free agent. Ottawa definitely believed in Da Costa’s potential but ultimately became frustrated and moved on.

Factors that can’t be overlooked are his determination to improve his weaknesses and his willingness to commit to the journey that landed him an NHL opportunity. –Hockeysfuture.com

The Golden Knights need to sign players, but also have to be creative in doing so. Shipachyov was a great example of that. He was a player that’s never played in the NHL, has been thriving in the KHL for years now, and the upside is through the roof. The Golden Knights jumped on him first and now, his age, skill and value will ultimately help the new franchise. Da Costa on the other hand, may be trending upwards in the World Championships but he’s projected to become just a role player on the Vegas roster.

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Chicago Wolves Announced As Golden Knights AHL Affiliate

Brace yourself SinBinners, what we’ve been reporting since January is now official and it’s time for the local and national media types to report it like it’s breaking news. The Golden Knights will have the Chicago Wolves as their AHL affiliate for the 2017-18 season.

American Hockey League affiliates play a significant role in the success of all NHL clubs and are we are proud to have the Chicago Wolves as our first in team history. I would like to thank Don Levin, Wendell Young and the rest of the Wolves organization for their commitment to the game and helping young hockey players grow to reach their full potential as professionals. Chicago is without question one of the strongest, most passionate hockey communities in North America. This is a relationship that we truly believe will be mutually beneficial. -George McPhee in Press Release

McPhee has said he expects between six and eight players under Golden Knights control to be playing at the AHL level at any given point. Chicago’s central location in the country and two airports allow the team to quickly and easily get players from the AHL to the NHL, the primary concern for the Golden Knights next season.

In a conference call with season ticket holders in March McPhee detailed the type of relationship Vegas will have with the Wolves.

The deal that we are going to do is going to be an exclusive deal, we are the primary affiliate, and we are going to go into a market that has a good hockey history and the team has done well. We will supply our players, we may get some players from another club but the way that the deal would be structured is the affiliation is between us and the minor league club and we will decide what players come from the other clubs, if any. We have full authority in all hockey matters and we will have final say on what decisions that are made. -McPhee

There are no details on the exact length of the contract, other than being described as “multi-year,” but rest assured, Vegas is in the market to move their affiliate closer to home as soon as possible. 

Did Ben Bishop Just Reveal McPhee’s Strategy?

Ben Bishop, the stud goalie who started the season in Tampa Bay, was traded to Los Angeles in February, then had his negotiating rights traded to Dallas and eventually signed a long term deal with Stars, said in an interview that Vegas is thinking of going “younger and in a different direction.”

I think there was some talk of it from what I understood I didn’t think it was an option. I’m obviously not sure what they are going to do. From what I head they were kind of thinking maybe younger and in a different direction. -Ben Bishop in interview with Hockey Central at Noon

Alright, there’s a lot of questions on this one, and at the moment, I don’t have any of the answers, but let’s try to flush this out as best we can here.

Let’s start with the obvious. How does he know this? And… why does he know this?

Follow the timeline, Bishop entered this season on an expiring contract (set to become a UFA). Then, he goes to LA to close out the year. After the season ends, his right are traded to Dallas, because only the team holding his rights can negotiate with him, where he signed, nearly two months before July 1st, when he would have actually hit the open market.

George McPhee never had a chance to talk to him. He couldn’t even say his name without it being tampering, still can’t. Yet Bishop just spilled an interesting note about what the Golden Knights are thinking of doing for the future.

Who told him this? And could he possibly be right?

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McPhee Ready To Hire Assistants When Gallant Returns At End Of the Month

The next step in the hockey operations process is filling out the Golden Knights coaching staff. Most NHL teams have between three and five coaches in addition to their head coach. The Golden Knights currently have Gerard Gallant as the boss, prior to his signing, the team added Dave Prior as a goalie coach and Wil Nichol as the Director of Player Development.

Now it’s time for Gallant to add a few assistants of his own, and according to George McPhee it won’t be long before he does so.

He’s over at the World Championships with Team Canada at the moment, look forward seeing him at the end of the month and filling out his staff. –George McPhee in interview with TSN 690

The leading candidate for a position is Mike Kelly, Gallant’s former top assistant with both the Florida Panthers and Saint John Sea Dogs.

Dave Barr and Scott Allen were also assistants with the Panthers when Gallant was released. Barr was retained to run the power play for interim head coach Tom Rowe, but was fired when Rowe was demoted in April. Both are possibilities to resurface with the Golden Knights.

Mike Kitchen (Blackhawks), Newell Brown (Coyotes), Doug Lidster (Canucks), Perry Pearn (Canucks), and James Patrick (Stars) are among some of the assistants that were fired from their positions at the conclusion of the season.

It wouldn’t be surprising if the Golden Knights coaching staff wasn’t completely filled until after the Expansion Draft, but McPhee sounds like he’s ready to start bringing coaches on board as soon as Gallant returns from Germany/France and the IIHF Worlds.

The Trades Are A Comin’, In About Two Weeks

The boys are back in town as the Golden Knights are set to go through yet another mock draft as they finalize their preparations for the big (three) days at the end of June. In an interview with TSN 690 in Montreal, GM George McPhee said this week the amateur scouts were here and the focus was on the Entry Draft, but it’s ready to shift to the other draft soon, and with that finally comes some trades.

Monday we jump right back on to the pro side and do our mock drafts and in the mean time we are fielding calls from teams that have ideas and thoughts and things they’d like to do and people they’d like to protect. So we take all that information in and it’ll be discussed next week during the mock draft and then after that when we’ve analyzed teams one more time at the end of next week we will start calling teams back to see if we can start doing some deals. -George McPhee

With just four teams left in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the muddy universe of players is starting to clear itself up in terms of protection and exposure in the Expansion Draft. With elimination, most teams have turned their attention to the elephant in the room and have gotten on the horn with McPhee to figure out what may work out best for both sides.

However, to this point McPhee and his staff have only been on the receiving end of the calls, and by the sounds of it, it’s been a lot more listening than talking. But after this coming mock draft, it appears that’s set to change.

If there’s something there that’s better than draft picks then we would claim that. If we see something on a club that we like but we can get the same thing from another club and we can get draft picks out of this club, then we will take draft picks. We are gonna have to do a little bit of everything, we are gonna need some youth, some experience, some skill, some speed, some grit, some draft picks. -McPhee

We are getting close people. The grill is almost preheated, now it’s time to take these GMs and stick their feet right on the hot coals. McPhee may have been buddy-buddy with these guys since being hired in July, but when the phone calls turn outbound from Vegas, he’ll be looking to suck every last asset out of every one of the 30 teams.

Now for the unfortunate part. Where’s Uncle Sour at? He still bitching about Ovi? Oh well, I’ll just tell you. Even if/when these deals are made, we won’t hear about them until June 21st. Sucks.

But, let’s put a positive spin on it. Keeping the deals secret continues to help the Golden Knights. If these trades were made public, it would start to (sorry about the upcoming Vegas pun) tip McPhee’s hand.

Only one man will have all of the information, and that man just so happens to call The Creator his boss.

Alexander Ovechkin Coming To Vegas… NOT

They did it again, they made him get out of his worn-out lazyboy. Its time again for everyone’s least-favorite uncle, Uncle Sour. Just like his frustration from the Claude Julien and Daryl Sutter to Vegas reactions, the overreaction of a possible Alex Ovechkin to the Golden Knights trade is getting silly. I ask one simple question, does it make sense for Vegas or Washington?

That’s a team (Vegas) that can take anybody. But what are they going to give. That’s the problem, they have nothing to give. If ownership is ready for that, there’s your chance. Here’s your chance and it’s not coming every year. –Renaud Lavoie, Sportsnet

Lavoie suggests the Golden Knights are a open for other team’s trash. The idea of an expansion team taking “anybody” is bad business, especially for the future development of the franchise. The team is blessed with a fresh cap, why would they want to instantly weigh it down with a contract like Ovechkin’s? Lavoie also mentioned Vegas would have nothing to trade back. Which is another reason this deal won’t happen. The organization has plenty to offer but it’s not mortgaging the future for a 31-year-old winger. The former Caps GM was brought to Las Vegas to build a wining franchise long term, not a three-year fading All-Star team.

What other GM in the NHL will be given the leeway to build a roster like McPhee? He knows this and will be patient building a wining franchise. Sending future first-round picks to the Capitals for their HoF sniper is goes against the strategy he’s been preaching since he first got here. Possibly, in a few years when McPhee’s sitting on a potential playoff team Ovechkin could make sense. By then, his contract length will be much more manageable and the price tag on Ovi will have gone way down.

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