Over the course of the last week, the Golden Knights signed William Karlsson, traded Erik Haula and Colin Miller, and participated sparingly in the opening of free agency. Following each of those four events, George McPhee took to the podium to meet with the media.
Nikita Gusev, the one major piece missing to the Golden Knights puzzle, was a focus throughout each of the four meetings. He remains unsigned and rumors have begun swirling about the eventual outcome of his contract negotiations.
Most of the rumors have stemmed from what McPhee had to say about Gusev during those press conferences. So, instead of trying to read between the lines of every word, I’m simply going to present every word McPhee said, in chronological order, about trades, contracts, and Gusev.
Tuesday, June 25th (Karlsson extension)
Well, we are going to have to make a few moves. We’ve planned for that and we’re going through that exercise right now and when we’re done we’ll talk about it and explain it. -McPhee
The plan was to build the team as best we could, every once in a while you get tight on the cap in this business, we’re there now. We’ll manage it and we will hopefully be in a much better place going forward with lots of cap space if we ever need it. -McPhee
Thursday, June 27th (Haula trade)
Well, I mentioned the other day that we have to make a few moves, but the moves that we’re going to make when we make them are hockey moves. It has to be a good hockey trade for us. Lots of names have been discussed, other teams have called on lots of different players. -McPhee
Did having Gusev here allow you a little more flexibility to move a winger like Haula? -Media
Um, yeah, I guess so. And again we’ll see where things go in the next few days, but we made a move yesterday and there’s probably another one coming and we’ll talk about that when it happens. -McPhee
There is a lot of activity right now. It’s a busy time of the year and there are a lot of teams talking about lots of different things. I would expect that next week we will reveal a lot of signings of free agents and other trades.
Saturday, June 29th (Miller trade)
I don’t anticipate doing a whole lot more. We are in a pretty good place right now. We’ll see what’s out there.
How close are you guys with Nikita Gusev? -Media
I’m not sure yet. We just keep going back and forth and again you keep the dialogue going. We’ve made a couple of moves and there’s no real urgency to the Gusev situation. We’re going to try and strike a deal that makes sense and go from there. -McPhee
How much does signing (Gusev) possibly impact further moves down the road? -Media
Well it depends on what the signing is worth. I don’t typically talk much about signing and contracts so, it would be a real good time to duck the rest of that question. -McPhee
Monday, July 1st (Free agency)
Our contracts are basically done, we have a little work to do. -McPhee
We think (Gusev) is a really good player. We’d like to work something out here, but if that doesn’t work out we’ll look at options. But there’s definitely an interest in him. We’ve had people call us on him. We’ll see what develops. I can’t tell you what will happen, but we’ll work on it. He’s been very, very good on the international stage. He wants to play in the NHL. He worked hard to get over here, and we’re going to accommodate him one way or another, either here or with another club. -McPhee
I don’t think we really have any significant cap issues now, I think we addressed those last week. We did it well. So, no, again we are sort of just working around the edges now. We’ll be involved in everything and we’ll talk to people but I can’t imagine there will be any significant moves with us. -McPhee
Would Gusev be an option for that bottom-six opening? -Media
Well it would add another player and where they go from there is up to the coaching staff, but it would be a heck of a lineup. -McPhee
I don’t think teams typically like to wait that long they’d like to get their business done in the next week or two because things do dry up. There’s a lot of money spent in the first couple days and then things tighten up. There will be a lot of talk now for the next few days, clubs that didn’t get a free agent that want to fill a hole may be looking to do a trade. So I think there’s still a lot to be done around the league. We’ll stay involved to see what happens, but I think other clubs have a lot more things to do than we do. -McPhee
If you can figure out what’s going to happen from all of that, you are better than me.