On May 4th, 2017 the Vegas Golden Knights signed the 2nd player in franchise history and their first on a one-way NHL contract. Seven months later that very same player retired from world’s best league after playing in three regular season games, totaling less than 32 minutes on the ice, and scoring only a single goal.
Just like that, the Vadim Shipachyov era in Las Vegas, and the NHL, is over.
He was a player many believed would be the most talented offensive player on the Golden Knights roster this season. A player that was supposed to be a top six forward, a power play wizard, and was even expected at the time he was signed to chip in on the penalty kill.
As it turned out, he was none of that.
He just wanted to go home. -George McPhee
In the end, the Golden Knights lose virtually nothing in the deal.
So case closed. Poka Shippy. (It means goodbye in Russian… I think). Time to shift the focus back to what’s important, the players who are still here in Las Vegas, and a team that’s 9-5-1, gearing up for a home game against the Winnipeg Jets. Right?
Nah. It’s not that simple. You can’t be THAT wrong about someone and simply write it off as “he’s a good guy and it just didn’t work out for us and for him here.” That doesn’t work for me. This whole situation isn’t about what was lost, and I’m certainly not buying McPhee’s “good news.”
The good news is the contract is off the books and a roster spot was opened up. -McPhee
That’s not why Vadim Shipachyov was brought over from the KHL to the NHL. It was to use him as an asset to help the Golden Knights become better in the future.
One of the greatest expenses you will ever have in your life is opportunity cost. Warren Buffet
That’s right, I just dropped a Warren Buffet quote in an article about a whiny Russian hockey player. When you come down from the shock of realizing that the guy who runs a website that can’t even get a .com actually paid enough attention in macroeconomics class to understand the principle of opportunity cost, chew on that quote for a second, cause that’s what’s really lost in the whole Shipachyov story.
George McPhee bought 30-year-old KHL superstar Vadim Shipachyov to be a piece to the bigger puzzle of building a championship team. But for that to happen, they needed him to be good. So good that either he would play for the Stanley Cup Champion Vegas Golden Knights sometime between 2021-2023 at the ripe age of 35 or so, or he would become valuable enough to fetch a high-end prospect that would help the Golden Knights over the long term.
Instead, due to a set of mishaps by every party involved, Shipachyov scurried back to Russia without the Golden Knights getting anything. Literally nothing, for a player that was an elite point producer in arguably the second best league in the world.
The picture has been painted by the Golden Knights that Vadim Shipachyov just wasn’t cracked up to be an NHL player, and that’s all on him. But the truth is, we won’t ever know if that’s accurate because of the way he was handled.
He’s left off the opening day roster because of a “numbers decision.” A move that makes sense to anyone with a shred of knowledge of the CBA, but may not have been so clear to the man it was happening to, or maybe, more importantly, his wife. That’s on McPhee.
Then, he’s brought back and given the GREAT opportunity to play a total of 32:46 over three games and less than three minutes on the power play where he’s at his best. He’s then told, “he needed some time to play to see if he could adjust to the pace of play of the North American game with a smaller rink.” That’s on Gerard Gallant and the Golden Knights scouting staff.
So he’s sent to the AHL to get that ice time, to give him time to adjust, and he says “nyet, I’m going back to Russia.” That’s on Shipachyov.
Everyone messed this up, and in the end, the Golden Knights get nothing, out of an asset that should have been worth his weight in gold. It’s a series of events that all fell against the Golden Knights. They took the risk to keep Jason Garrison and Griffin Reinhart on the roster in lieu of keeping Shipachyov. Coach opted to go for the W’s rather than give the guy a bit more ice time to “adjust to the pace of play,” and the player turned out to be a whiny prima donna who refused to cut his teeth in a league in which 3/4ths of NHL players play in at some point.
I repeat. Everyone messed this up.
And now, the Golden Knights got absolutely nothing in watching Shipachyov depart, they may never get Nikita Gusev, (a Russian teammate of Shipachyov who Vegas acquired via trade during the Expansion Draft) and there’s a chance it has set a precedent for the way the Vegas Golden Knights treat free agents that could hinder some big-name signings in the future.
But hey, the Golden Knights, who are now nearly $10M under the cap and not looking to add any players, got the contract off the books. Oh, and they got a much-needed roster spot back so they can scratch Jon Merrill or Griffin Reinhart for another 10 consecutive games. And all it cost was “8/164ths of the signing bonus.”
Open your eyes people, opportunity… is what was lost.