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Luce Talked McPhee Into Going Younger

Back in September we pointed out that the organization was surprisingly old for a Expansion franchise. At the time, Misha Donskov at the age of 39 was the youngest member of the staff and the average age of the men in the room was over 50. A few days later 25-year-old Raphael Pouliot was hired. Since, some younger guys like Mike LevineTom Poraszka, and Peter Ward were brought on.

We figured the reasoning behind the more youthful hires was not George McPhee reading, but for a minute there we were walking out with our chests out.

Come to find out, thanks to a Sportsnet article, it was actually the idea of 47-year-old Scott Luce who had to do a little convincing of his new boss.

George wanted experienced scouts but we’ve since hired a couple younger guys from a lower level of the game but who have a broader knowledge of these younger age groups that are coming through. -Scott Luce, Director of Amateur Scouting

Pretty radical change from what McPhee had wanted prior to being swayed by Luce (and of course.)

We need to have veteran scouts, hockey men who have experience and will be ready to go from Day One. We can’t afford younger guys looking to break into [scouting]. It’s a luxury you can afford when you have an established staff but not with an expansion team. -George McPhee

There’s good and bad to be taken from this. Let’s start with the bad. McPhee’s ideal staff was one built of of hockey front-office veterans who probably all had similar experiences and ideas. But just like in building a team on the ice, diversity is necessary. Age, background, skills, you name it, you want a squad that’s well rounded and can attack any problem with a variety of solutions. That wasn’t McPhee’s plan, which could have spelled major trouble.

Now to the good. He adapted quickly and took the advice of a respected hockey man who he hired to help him. It proves McPhee is not simply looking for “yes-men” in the front office and he’s willing to make a move even if it’s not something he’s comfortable with.

They’ve since brought in a coach from college, a former agent, a lawyer with no hockey background, and guy who created a website dedicated to tracking player salary. That’s diversity. That’s thinking outside of the box. And that’s one of the many reasons most in the hockey world believe the front office assembled in Las Vegas is so strong.

Luce was able to change McPhee’s mind, now we have to hope Luce’s idea was right.


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Merry Christmas!


  1. Joe

    Out of personal curiosity, for those of you who this will be your team, meaning that you will either go the vast majority of games, and/or watch nearly every regular season game, what will you define “success” as, or at least be satisfied results wise in the following time periods:

    1) First five years?

    2) First ten years?

    3) First 15 years?

    4) First 20 years?

    Also, please answer this for me as well. Would you rather have a team like the Hurricanes that has had two Cup appearances and won a Cup, yet has missed the playoffs 9 out of the last 10 years after winning the Cup, yet in the year that one year that they did make it, they made it to the ECF. Or would you would rather have a team like the Capitals who have had strong regular seasons, two President’s trophy’s, yet have not made it out of the second round?

    In that same vein, for those of you who live in the Valley, do you think that from an attendance perspective/overall fan interest perspective (and let’s just assume that there will be the Las Vegas Raiders in the market as of 2019), what do you think would be better? Carolina or Washington’s track record?

    Thanks in advance to those will take the time to provide their thoughts? Merry Xmas to you all.

  2. Dwayne Lucyk

    I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. I already know everyone will have a happy new year with NHL Hockey in Vegas next year. You chose a very good topic Joe and posed a very tough question. I am not from the Valley but my intention is to become a Snow Bird in the near future and will cheer for the Golden Knights during my “golden” years. During my early 30’s, I witnessed the Oilers win 5 cups in 7 years, after being in the NHL for only 5 years. Talk about being spOILed. However, I also witnessed the dark side of the Oilers not making the playoffs for the last 10 years and not winning a cup for 25 years, so I experienced both ends of the win/loss spectrum. Thus, I felt very fortunate and now I feel humble. But selfishly, I would like to see Vegas win a cup, within the next 10 years, during my retirement. Given the 2 choices, and if I was 30 today, I would not want Vegas to have a Carolina type record because of the constant realistic threat of that franchise moving to another city some day. One and done. Thus, Washington’s record would be my choice of the two, even though George would disagree, because he has a mandate to win the cup in 6 years. I say 10 years is more realistic. Detroit was not one of your choices, but their record in the JOE Louis Arena era is very respectable, making the playoffs most years and winning 4 cups along the way. Vegas fans would be ecstatic with a Red Wings type of track record, which would be my personal choice to emulate.

  3. James

    I will be satisfied if George McPhee doesn’t deviate from the plan to build through the draft — it’s the right way to do it. Let the results fall where they may.

    I will be dissatisfied if McPhee deviates from his plan in order to please his boss. A lack of patience led to trading Filip Forsberg (the 11th-overall pick from 2012) to the Nashville Predators for Martin Erat and Michael Latta.

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