Doubt this reminder is necessary, but here it is anyway, George McPhee was the general manager of the Washington Capitals for 17 years from 1997-2014. He was fired at the end of the 2014 season because the seemingly championship quality roster just couldn’t get over the hump and win the Stanley Cup.
McPhee moved on to work with Garth Snow and the New York Islanders, Team Canada at the IIHF Worlds, and eventually, take the job in Vegas. The Capitals are well, still the Capitals.
So when the Expansion Draft rolled around, to many, Washington was one of the most interesting selections of the 30 McPhee and Vegas were to make. Most believed the pick would be Philipp Grubauer, the backup goalie who was drafted by McPhee in the 4th round in 2010. Grubauer was one of the league’s best #2 goalies in 2016-17 and appeared to be the perfect option to fill the same role behind Marc-Andre Fleury as a Golden Knight.
But no, instead, Vegas picked Nate Schmidt, the 25-year-old defenseman that went undrafted out of University of Minnesota and signed with Washington (McPhee) in 2013. Schmidt had a +22 rating last season and is +34 in the past two seasons, his first full seasons at the NHL level. Schmidt came over as a restricted free agent whom Vegas clearly had future plans.