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George McPhee’s Has Stood Pat At Deadlines Before; How’d It Turn Out?

It’s trade deadline day, and in a few long hours, we’ll know the roster the Golden Knights will bring into the playoffs on their run for a Stanley Cup in year four of the franchise.

Deadline day is great because it’s one of the few days where hope truly springs eternal for all teams. Winning teams look for their clubs to add the final piece to the puzzle, middling teams hope for the blockbuster that changes the season, and the bottomfeeders wave the white flag and focus on a brighter future.

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In Vegas, the deadline has been a day for celebration all three seasons. From Tomas Tatar to Mark Stone to Robin Lehner and Alec Martinez, the Golden Knights have swung for the fences each and every year.

Unfortunately, to this point, none of these trades have been that one missing element to help the Golden Knights lift the Cup, but that certainly doesn’t mean they haven’t had an impact on the team.

This year feels different though. This year the Golden Knights sit in a clear playoff position and have a reasonable argument to stake their claim amongst the league’s elites. They’ve raced out to an impressive 27-11-2 record, hardly ever lose at home, and they have a roster that on paper stacks up with anyone in the league. But, they are also so close to the salary cap that they can’t even afford to replace an injured player without placing him on LTIR. They’ve played multiple games shorthanded and understand that any trade must include money and players going out.

However, history tells us George McPhee and Kelly McCrimmon aren’t exactly big fans of sitting on their hands at the deadline. In three seasons with Vegas, they’ve made eight trades either on or within a week of the deadline. They’ve been involved in a headline move four times and have sent away just two players off their every-day starting lineup.

That’s such a short history though, so we wanted to dig a little deeper. Current GM, McCrimmon, has only held this role in Vegas, so we have to focus on the current President of Hockey Operations, McPhee.

He has been in the head seat for 19 previous deadlines. He has made at least one trade in 16 of them. He’s made multiple trades in 12, and 10 of the last 13. However, it’s the other side of the coin we’re more interested in today, the years he stood pat.

He did that with the Washington Capitals three times in 16 seasons at the helm. Those seasons were 2011-12, 2008-09, and 1999-00. We’ll start with the most recent, in which McPhee was quoted after the deadline saying this…

I certainly think we’re capable of making the playoffs with this team right now. If Nicky Backstrom came back, it certainly would improve our chances of being able to win a Cup. We can make the playoffs with this team. And if he comes back, we can beat anybody in this conference. –George McPhee in February 2012

Nicky did come back, but the Capitals did not win the Cup. In fact, they didn’t even reach the conference final, losing in the Second Round to the Rangers in 7 games. (Backstrom had eight points in 13 games).

The Caps had 67 points in 62 games at the time of the deadline and were definitely in danger of missing the playoffs. They finished with 25 more points in the final 20 games and snuck in as the 7-seed. They did manage to win one playoff round, but came up a goal short in the Second Round, which begs the question, could a deal have helped?

On to 2008-09, where the Caps led the division by a wide margin at the deadline. They were 11 points clear of 2nd place with just 17 games to go but were sliding a bit on their pace winning 13 of 22 before the deadline (they had won 27 of 41 to start the season). McPhee kept the roster completely intact, doing absolutely nothing on or leading up to the deadline day. McPhee ended up seeing that team fall in the Second Round to the Penguins.

Finally, there was McPhee’s third season as a GM. The Caps were in a very similar situation as to where the Golden Knights are now. They and the Florida Panthers were the clear class of the division. Each were over 80 points at the deadline while no one else in the division had reached 70. Florida made one deal to add a center and a winger while Washington stood by and watched, in a time before the salary cap.

The Caps went on to eek out the division by four points setting them up nicely for a playoff run. That thought ended quickly as they were dispatched in five games in the First Round by Pittsburgh.

So, looking back, there are three instances in which a George McPhee-led team has not made a move at the deadline. All three times his teams went on to make the playoffs, two won the division, but they amassed a combined two playoff series wins between the three clubs.

All indications are this Golden Knights team is happy with their roster and they know the cap limitations make it tricky to make a move, but one has to wonder if the past is still on McPhee’s mind.

He knows this history, and he also has seen Colorado, Tampa, Florida, Boston, New York (I), and Toronto all improve.

Will he sit on his hands again or will they try to make the splash most believe they need to push this team over the top.

We’ll know very soon.

George McPhee Complete Deadline Trade History
*Trades must be made within 7 days of the deadline to be recorded*

Acquired: Alex Martinez, Robin Lehner, Nick Cousins, 4th round pick
Lost: Cody Eakin, Malcolm Subban, Slava Demin, 3 2nd round picks, 4th round pick, 5th round pick
Trades: 4

Acquired: Mark Stone
Lost: Erik Brannstrom, Oscar Lindberg, 2nd round pick
Trades: 1

Acquired: Tomas Tatar, Ryan Reaves, Philip Holm, 4th round pick
Lost: Brendan Leipsic, 1st round pick, 2nd round pick, 3rd round pick
Trades: 3

Acquired: Jaroslav Halak, Chris Brown, 3rd round pick, 4th round pick
Lost: Martin Erat, John Mitchell, Michal Neuvirth
Trades 3

Acquired: Martin Erat, Michael Latta, Joel Rechlicz, Dane Byers
Lost: Filip Forsberg, Matthew Clackson, Garrett Stafford
Trades: 3


Acquired: Dennis Wideman, Jason Arnott
Lost: Dave Steckel, Jake Hauswirth, 2nd round pick, 3rd round pick
Trades: 2

Acquired: Eric Belanger, Scott Walker, Joe Corvo
Lost: Brian Pothier, Oskar Osala, 2 2nd round picks, 7th round pick
Trades: 3


Acquired: Sergei Federov, Cristobal Huet, Matt Cooke, Alexander Giroux
Lost: Theo Ruth, Matt Pettinger, Joe Motzko, 2nd round pick
Trades: 4

Acquired: Andy Hedlund, Jiri Novotny, 1st round pick, 2nd round pick, 5th round pick, 6th round pick
Lost: Lawrence Nycholat, Richard Zednik, Dainius Zubrus, Timo Helbling, Jamie Heward
Trades: 4

Acquired: Kris Beech, 1st round pick, 2nd round pick
Lost: Brendan Witt, Jeff Friesen
Trades: 2

Acquired: Tomas Fleischman, Shaone Morrisonn, Jared Aulin, Jakub Klepis, 2 1st round picks, 2 2nd round picks, 2 4th round picks
Lost: Robert Lang, Sergei Gonchar, Michael Nylander, Anson Carter, Mike Grier
Trades: 5

Acquired: Sergei Berezin
Lost: 4th Round Pick
Trades: 1

Acquired: Maxime Ouellette 1st round pick, 2nd round pick, 3rd round pick
Lost: Adam Oates
Trades: 1

Acquired: David Emma, Jason Marshal, Dean Melanson, Trevor Linden, Dainius Zubrus, 2nd round pick
Lost: Remi Royer, Alexei Tezikov, Matt Herr, Jan Bulis, Richard Zednick, 1st round pick, 4th round pick
Trades: 4


Acquired: Alexei Tezikov, 2 2nd round picks, 4th round pick, 6th round pick
Lost: Brad Shaw, Tom Chorske, Joe Juneau, Craig Berube, Dale Hunter, 3rd round pick, 8th round pick
Trades: 5

Acquired: Jeff Brown
Lost: Sylvain Cote
Trades: 1




2021 Trade Deadline Roundup


  1. THE hockey GOD

    AZ two game series had atrocious non calls by the REFS on both teams, but many more non calls on VGK. Can’t blame the Yotes coach. Game 1 had tripping by 55 leading to goal. Game 2 had 75 vicious head hit, no 3 cross sticking, and several more. These non calls lead to life threatening hits on 67 and 61 in third period. Even the VGK announcers said it more than once that the “Refs decided to let the players play.” This is not a good thing at all. IT’s like Biden and dimwits not enforcing immigration laws. No difference. People are at risk to these obvious non calls.

    • Julie

      Hockey God, I see your point about the risk to players without the refs calling it. It’s hard to tell sometimes.

      • THE hockey GOD

        i hear you Julie, the refs lose control by not following the rules.

  2. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    Yep, we’ll know very soon.

    Then all this nonsense can stop!

    5 hrs and counting …. tick … tick … tick, ha ha

  3. Julie

    Far be it for me to defend McPhee, but I don’t see why he has to do anything. There is no guarantee that any trade will “push this team over the top”, apparently in the next week or so to win the Cup. McPhee tried it with big bloated contracts and less-paid contracts who have been with the team now for 1+ years and they are having issues. How do we know the issues are all on the players? Is it not possible that the team has to play as PDB wants them to and the players have an issue with that? That said, I can see moving Stephenson if they can get a center that’s aggressive and sharp. I don’t know if that puts them over the top. But it would be nice to see Vegas get dirty in front of the net rather take most shots from the blue line. Other than that, we know what every team member is capable of. It’s usually up to the coach to bring out those talents simultaneously…like the first period Friday or the defense yesterday, etc., isn’t it?

    • Mike StG

      Julie, I wouldn’t expect them to move anyone significant out. A deal would likely involve 3 teams where the 3rd team absorbs some of the cost. Like last year’s Lehner deal.

  4. Dean

    Unless they can find a gullible team to take Lehner off our hands, I’m really hoping they just do nothing today. I think this team is good enough to win a series (maybe two) in the playoffs but I just don’t see us having enough depth to contend for the Cup. With no cap room, we’d either have to give up draft picks or prospects to get teams to take on salaries of an overpaid player or two. And if we do this, we’d only be able to add one forward or defenseman and I don’t see this being the difference. We’re better off keeping the prospects and draft picks as we are going to need some low paid roster spots that can produce in the coming years as the cap will not be ncreasing.

  5. Walt23

    Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves won’t face any supplementary discipline for his hit on Coyotes defenseman Jordan Gross yesterday, reports David Schoen of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The ruling appears to be that while there was definitely contact to the head, it was not the principal point of contact.


    and the fans on this blog who said exactly that yesterday can take a victory lap today.

    • DOC (Go Knights Go)

      Yea, just the Revo haters doing their thing yesterday! ha ha

  6. Mike StG

    Wow, could it be?!? I’ve touted Getzlaf a month ago but was told by some it was a pipe dream. Legit talk about it.

  7. Mike StG

    I’m behind a couple hours, catching up. I’m very good with Janmark.

  8. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    They’re not going to get rid of Stephenson OR Lehner.

    Who’s this Janmark dude?

    • THE hockey GOD

      338 56 72 128 -27

      minus 27 says it all

      cost them two higher level draft picks

      but VGK gets a 5th rounder pick back in deal

      • THE hockey GOD

        5th rounder goes to SJ , VGK gets an AHL player in return…wait there is more !

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