When this website began, one of the first things we did was start reading up on our history. As the saying goes, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” We examined the history of hockey in Las Vegas, the backgrounds of every person involved in the bid to bring hockey here, and most importantly the history of expansion franchises in the NHL.
For my money, the best resource for learning about the ins and outs of an NHL Expansion Draft is the book, “How To Bake An NHL Franchise From Scratch” by former Assistant GM of the Minnesota Wild, Tom Lynn. The book has it all, from the genesis of the team, to stories from the Expansion Draft war room, to contract discussions with players, it really describes the entire process Las Vegas is set to go through.
There have literally been more than 2o articles on this website that have come directly from that book, and we had the pleasure of speaking to Tom for more than an hour on a podcast. If you want to be an expert, it’s required reading.
That’s why I was pumped to find out a high ranking official with the Las Vegas organization has read the book and calls it a blueprint.
Assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon is leaving no stone unturned in doing the legwork to help Las Vegas GM George McPhee try to build a winner in Nevada, and that includes reading Lynn’s account of building the Wild. –Craig Custance, ESPN
A few of the draft strategies used by the Minnesota Wild in their Expansion Draft were simply brilliant. Obviously Las Vegas is playing with different rules and doesn’t have to “compete” with another team like the Wild did, but if I learned a lot from the book, I can only imagine the intel a hockey-lifer like McCrimmon will take from it.
One of the biggest takeaways from the book is the idea of creative thinking. Whether it’s on drafting a player, making a trade, or in contract negotiations, there’s always a way to make things work. Lynn’s team made trades for players they didn’t even have yet, drafted a player that retired from hockey, and came up with contracts for players most believed would never sign with Minnesota. At one point they even made Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly change the rules of the Expansion Draft on the spot.
The fact that McCrimmon is using this resource proves he’s interested in gaining as much knowledge as he possibly can, no matter where it comes from. When all is said and done with the formation of the initial roster in Las Vegas, there will be some head scratchers. A few players, or contracts, or even trades that have us shaking our heads.
But if Tom Lynn taught us anything, it’s that there’s always more going on than what we see. There’s history behind every good move and every bad move that’s ever been made in the NHL, and I for one am very pleased to find out the Las Vegas organization is going to any length to learn from every single one of them.