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The Balancing Act Between Early And Future Success Will Be Tough For McPhee

Since 1990 every NHL expansion franchise has failed to make the postseason in their first season. A disturbing trend ProHockeyTalk’s Adam Gretz looked into. Gretz did add however, that Las Vegas could be the best expansion team ever. All that aside a huge question surrounding this organization is how will GM George McPhee balance a competitive first year with future development?

You can survive the loss of a player, you can’t survive a bad contract. You can’t let dead money or pay it forward schemes get in the way of what you are trying to do. -George McPhee

For starters, McPhee seems committed to not take on loaded contracts. There could be an abundance of junk contracts offered up, but McPhee likely won’t budge. He’s stressed many times, that’s not how Las Vegas will build a hockey team. He then went on to say this with NHL.com.

Why not try to put a team together that can try to make the playoffs in the first year? We’re going to be smart. We’re not going to do anything silly, do bad deals or anything like that, but can we get a really good, competitive team with some really talented young players right away. Yeah, I think so. -McPhee

Most likely the expansion draft won’t be rich with young snipers. I’m assuming McPhee will be creative acquiring picks, and prospects via trades both pre and post Expansion Draft. The question remains though, how many talented players can the team have if the focus on staying away from bad contracts and building through the Entry Draft?

The trick will be the ability to attract free agents. Something just about everyone, including the new GM, believe will happen in Las Vegas.

I think a lot of people are going to want to play here. This is an exciting town that has a lot to offer… State income tax matters. -McPhee

HockeyTalk’s Gretz blamed the early failures of teams like Columbus, Atlanta, and Nashville on being poorly operated as much as the expansion rules. Something he believes won’t happen here in Las Vegas.

There’s no doubt making the playoffs in year one would be great, but there’s certainly a balancing act McPhee and the rest of his soon to be named staff will have to fight. I agree, “why not” try to put a a competitive team out there year one, but if it’s going to hamper future success, it’s probably not worth it. McPhee knows this, it’ll be interesting to see how the valley (and The Creator) react when/if the teeter totter leans more toward the future than the present.

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2 Comments

  1. pfh64

    I think as fans (full disclosure, I’m an Isles fan first), the goal should be, to have the best expansion team ever. Which based on the expansion rules, should be attainable. Does that mean that LV should not shoot for the playoffs? Of course not. It’s professional sports, why you play at any level and try not to win whatever championship is available. Hell, why would you play college intramurals and not try to win?

    As the post says, goal scoring will not be available in expansion draft. Certainly not of the expected type. So that’s known going in. Plus, in a conference that will two, AT BEST, playoff spots “available”, you can not take bad contracts just to win a game or two more in the first season. If the organization is smart, and I have no reason to think it won’t be, the tact already voiced by the GM is the right one. Unrealistic expectations can only hurt the franchise.

  2. Cappy

    For a true indication of how GMGM will perform as GM, one need only look at players and coaches he brought into the Caps organization.

    There were some real head scratching decisions.

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