(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)
In exchange for selecting Jason Garrison, and his exorbitant contract, in the Expansion Draft, the Golden Knights received a 2nd round pick (which they traded for Keegan Kolesar), a 4th round pick (which they selected Paul Cotter) and Nikita Gusev.
Three assets in exchange for not only taking a bad contract off the hands of a contending team, but also laying off players like Yanni Gourde, J.T. Brown, Andrej Sustr, Slater Koekkoek, and others.
It was a cross between the expansion situations with Columbus and the New York Islanders and that of Minnesota and Florida, but it most resembled the pickle Anaheim found itself in.
With the Ducks, Vegas received Shea Theodore for laying off Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson and picking up the bad contract of Clayton Stoner. Anaheim’s available options were better, but Garrison’s contract was much worse.
So, from Tampa Vegas got a pair of picks and an asset who was sitting over in Russia waiting for the time to come to make the leap to the NHL. No matter when that happened, he would become a Golden Knights.
If you go through every trade Vegas executed at the Expansion Draft, it’s reasonable to believe that Gusev’s value at the Expansion Draft was somewhere between a 1st round pick and a 3rd round pick. The exact value depends on how badly Tampa needed to get rid of Garrison’s contract as well as how much they valued their exposed players.
Since that day, George McPhee and the Golden Knights tried to diminish Gusev’s market price, while the Russian has done nothing but raise it. Finally it came to a head yesterday when the Devils sent a measly package of a 2nd and a 3rd round pick to end the Gusev in Vegas saga.
When Vegas acquired Gusev, he had just finished a breakout season putting up 71 points in the 2016-17 season. It was the first time he scored more than 40 points in the KHL. On the international stage he had dominated the World Junior tournament years prior and put up impressive numbers at the World Cup but his track record as short.
Since, he’s won back-to-back KHL MVP’s, broke the record for assists in a season, won a Gold medal, dominated at the IIHF World Championships and cemented himself as the best player outside of the NHL. (Read more about that here.)
In other words, he went from a player who appeared to be headed in the right direction to one who burst into a full fledged superstar everywhere but the NHL. Whatever his stock was in June of 2017, it has surely risen dramatically since.
Then there are the Golden Knights who did the opposite. At every pass, they diminished his value.
First, they burned his entry-level contract allowing Gusev to become an RFA this offseason. Rather than pay him $925,000 for a full season, they were forced to re-sign him at a much higher price with the fear that he could return to Russia and Vegas get nothing. This was almost certainly done to guarantee he would actually make the leap to the NHL, but it devalued him along the way.
Then, Vegas created cap hell by adding players like Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, and Paul Stastny, as well as overpaying for Ryan Reaves and missing on Nick Holden. This put them in a position where a $4 million ask from Gusev was unreasonable signaling to other teams that Vegas was open for business. Desperate teams make desperate moves.
Finally, they started the intentional devaluing, which is the real shame. At every press conference, when asked, McPhee would return lukewarm answers on the future of Gusev. Rather than talk him up by saying things like “he’s the best player outside the NHL and it’s not even close” McPhee would say things like “we’re going to accommodate him” or “we’ll see what develops,” or my personal favorite when I asked if having Gusev helped allow them to trade Haula and he said “uh, yeah, I guess so.”
And it’s been going on for years. Every time there was a question asked about Gusev (almost always by me), he was noncommittal. It all appeared to be a tactic to help in negotiating a lesser contract, but it backfired when it became evident they were going to trade him.
Then there’s the playoffs. When Gusev did come over, the Golden Knights opted to sit him in the press box in favor of Brandon Pirri. Instead of showing faith in the player and getting a sense for what he was going to become, they benched him. Instead of working him hard in practice to gain more intel on the player he’d become, they had him skate around in circles with the healthy scratches. And when asked to Gerard Gallant, he was essentially viewed as an afterthought, not a valuable piece to an organization.
There are plenty of other examples as well that while insignificant individually add up to continue this trend.
The Golden Knights simply did not handle the situation well at any pass, and now, they are stuck with a pair of draft picks that will do nothing to help a Cup contending team, and a giant matzah ball hanging out as Gusev begins his NHL career in New Jersey.
Every goal he scores, every play he makes, every time he does anything that helps his team, Vegas looks worse and worse.
“Oh what could have been” they’ll say. But instead, McPhee opted for a 2nd and a 3rd rather than finding a way. And now, he’s staring at Filip Forsberg 2.0.
Managing a hockey team is hard, and mistakes will be made, but this one was completely avoidable.
It reminds me of a memorable time in my childhood. I was at a baseball game with my mom when I was about 2 years old. I found a nickel on the ground. I picked it up, pumped at what I’ve discovered. But like any 2-year-old would think, I figured, might as well try to eat it. I put it in my mouth, bit down, and realized, the only way I could make this happen was to swallow it. My mom screamed, “No, no!” don’t you eat that. She told me it would come back to haunt me later. In my rebellious terrible two stage, I became very still, I looked her in the eyes and my 2-year-old self said “Mom, I don’t care what you say, I’m eating this because I found it.” Well, I probably said something much less profound, but the message was there. She warned and warned and warned, until finally the moment of truth came. I took the nickle, put it in my mouth as she reached out for me, and I swallowed it whole. The rest, is a painful history that still gives me bathroom related nightmares. I knew what to expect, but I did it anyway.
That’s the Golden Knights and Gusev, and now, they have to deal with the shit that comes along with it.
(FACT: That story of 2-year-old Ken is completely and utterly fabricated. I was a good boy, but you get the point.)
How’s Italy ?
You should invite Granger to debate this on your podcast. He’s all in with McPhee on this train wreck.
This is the article we needed. Granger has been saying for weeks how the Knights offseason was a disaster if they ended up trading Gusev and looked like Deion Sanders backpedaling yesterday. Glad to see you stick to your guns Ken
It cracks me up how quickly we fall in love with the shiny new toy. Everyone just throws names and contracts around like they are playing fantasy hockey league.
The simple fact is they could not pay a 3rd line winger who’s never played an NHL game 4.5 mil/yr. What made anyone think Gusev would be happy playing on 3rd line anyway? And with who after trading everyone in the bottom six to sign him?? Funny how quickly everyone forgets how dominant the Stastny Stone Patches line was in the playoffs last year. GMGM has established a culture where character and chemistry matter. Sure we have some players on bad contracts. That’s a real world problem of good hockey teams with good players. You know who doesn’t have players with bad contracts? Ottawa
Simmer down everyone and stop playing fantasy hockey
Simmer down, he says…
…One year of Gusev at $925K, on a line with Tuch and Eakin; and you think that even one year of a third line like that can’t put up 50 or 60 or 70 goals? Even if he goes away after that one year, how much does Gusev increase our chances of winning it all? I say A LOT. But instead, McPhee drops a turd then says he’s farting clouds of incense. But, simmer down. Yeah, yeah, sure uh-huh.
Carl—-how do you get Gusev at $925K on a line with Tuch and Eakin when his ask was $4 million…..??
My understanding is that if he had played in the San Jose series, his ELC would remain in force. Thus, Vegas would have him for this season only at $925K. After that he’s UFA. But they sat him and burned the ELC, apparently hoping to sign him as the RFA he became at the end of the San Jose series. As a fan, I hoped to see the Russian phenom playing a full season in VGK colors. IMO, George/Turk /Whoever blew it by not playing Gusev and keeping him on the cheap, if only for one year.
Nope, not the case. He’s ELC was burned regardless of if he played against SJ or not.
McPhee has a history of non-comformity guess what he continues to hover in his own world. I believe he is very overated.The VGK have been very lucky soo far…wait till Feb when the VGK are in or near the btm of their division, i suppose it will be Gallants fault..right Geo ?
Bottom of their division?
The problem I see with that is the “culture where character and chemistry matter” CAN quickly turn into a culture of ‘comfort and complacency’ because these players are ‘our guys’.
You need to have a balance loyalty to your guys and a message that the organization is always trying to get better. And that often includes getting better players. We lost three that I value a lot in Haula, Belley, and the potential in Gusev. We did not get nearly anything equitable in return and we only have a little more than $1 million in cap space to show for it. That to me (especially the Haula trade) says GM and KM were in camp Gusev, but then whiffed on the deals they needed to make to get him signed. So like Ken asked in the presser, I’m looking for how did we get better? I understand with the cap the way it is, it’s tough. However, the organization MADE moves that made the team worse, not better, in my opinion. And that’s bad.
I’m not screaming for heads to roll. I’m not saying the sky is falling. I am still excited for this season. But damn, I am disappointed. And I don’t think we have as good of a chance to make it to the Finals as if we had Gusev.
This guy will never be Filip Forsberg. KHLers almost never pan out. It’s a different game. Level of play is worse than the AHL.
Thanks for always being there for us Ken, no matter where you are in the world. Mille grazie! The Golden Knights held an asset that no other team had. They had the best player in the world not in the NHL. If they were to trade him, there was no way GMGM could bring back a dollar for dollar deal. But, this feels like he brought back a nickel and swallowed it. Assets like this are something you do not have every year and you have to bring back a lot of value. The Devils got a steal even if Gusev is a total bust because they gave up so little. You cannot tell me a NHL team was not willing to give up a first round pick. Problem is, I do not think anyone thinks that this guy is not going put up 50-60 points at minimum. If he turns into Alexander Radulov (former KHL MVP) or better, this deal is McPhee’s Filip Forsberg flop all over again.
and don’t forget, the 2nd round pick is 2 years from now in 2021. That even further devalues the trade. I will repost my comment from yesterday…
a 2nd round pick in 2021 will maybe be able to help the Knights in 2024. meanwhile, Gusev will have 5 good years in NJ before McPhee gets a damn thing out of his draft pick, IF that pick even makes it.
that answers the phony spin out of McPhee …..McPhee says “What we didn’t want to do was to tear the team apart to accommodate one player.”
meanwhile, …Miller, Haula, Gusev, Bellemare, and Carpenter all gone to basically accommodate one player…playoff scratch Nick Holden
The player responsible for those guys leaving is William Karlsson. Once he inked that deal they were officially in salary cap hell. There was no way they could give Gusev 4 mil after that. I don’t care what Gusev becomes, I’ll take Karlsson any day. For those who think McPhee got screwed in the trade consider the options:
1 – they hold out and he goes back to Russia
2- they can’t trade him to a division team
3- it has to be a player for picks deal because of our salary cap situation
4- how many teams have 4.5 mil cap space to sign a player without moving one?
5- of those teams how many are willing to commit 9 mil to a player who’s never played in the nhl
Bottom line is once they committed to Stone and Karlsson while Gusev was tearing it up in KHL, this marriage was never going to work. I’m ok with the fallout. It happens to good hockey teams with good assets and players
Reaves and Holden (the teams 2 worst contracts, about 5mil total) go and we can afford gusev. Can anyone reasonably argue that we would have been worse after losing those 2? Why on Earth did McPhee trade haula, who has the exact same cap hit as Reaves, away so early (and for next to nothing)? At least youd still have options at this point. What’s easier to replace, a 4th line guy who never scores points or a 3rd liner who can easily put up 40 or 50?
McPhee screwed this up royally. Now, instead of having to replace a dud defenseman, and a 4th line grinder who is way overpaid, we have Brandon “barely an NHL player” pirri on our 3rd line.
You’re right good hockey teams with good assets do lose players…but Stanley Cup winners or smart GMs find ways to keep the best ones. That’s all we are now, just good enough to make the playoffs and maybe win a round.
You forgot an option though…how about the option GM doesn’t fuck this up yet AGAIN and keeps the best players on his team. Is Holden and Reaves better than Gusev? Haula? Miller? No, no, and no and I would rather have any of those three back right now. And don’t give me the ‘Well we don’t know if he will be successful in the NHL or not’. So the rink is a little smaller here, so what. Look at his stats. His tape. He set records that current NHL All-Stars couldn’t do in the KHL. If he scores 10 goals this year it will be more that Reaves and Holden combined.
This comes down to McPhee’s ego. He refuses to admit his mistakes overpaying Holden, Reaves, and others while putting us in this mess so it is easier to just cut Gusev loose. The league is laughing at us right now.
Great comments from Ken & others. The best I heard the other day, can’t remember where or by whom, was: “McPhee is a very good WHEN he has all the leverage, but folds like a cheap tent when he doesn’t”! Was very pissed yesterday when I heard that they just gave away Gusev, but now, I’m thinking, ok WTF. It’s done, move on, we still got the boys to do this. Since the beginning the Knights management has not been forth coming or transparent on very little. Was most of our success the with our roster, mainly because of the sweet-heart rules we got in the expansion draft, or because the smarts of MPhee & others????? So now, we’ll se and HOPE they DID do a good job drafting the past two years and get some of those boys on the ice THIS season!!!!!!
I disagree Doc…we don’t have the boys to do it. We were bounced in the first round and have since then lost Gusev, Miller, Haula, Bellemare, and Carpenter and replaced them with exactly nobody. How is this team better than last year? One of the reasons everyone was so excited about Gusev was that he added offense which was needed after losing all those players. Another reason everyone liked him was because *checks notes* he is AMAZING at the game of hockey.
Love that quote about McPhee…so true.
the hockey god
i agree, they replaced them with nobody due to salary cap that is no more than socialist ploy by NHL to keep all teams equal, lower the quality of play, and penalize teams who do well. It is just plain stupid because it causes the product to suffer greatly on the ice, and teams, like vegas, will suffer because of it.
Def not the hockey god
Congrats sir, this is by far the dumbest comment I’ve ever read regarding hockey
Please explain what you mean by “sweet-heart” rules at the expansion draft. You sound like all the other whiners from around the league that bitched when Vegas got to the Finals in the first year. “The NHL made it easy for them”, “they robbed the other teams of their best players”. Stop. Which “top” player did we take from which team? By the fact that teams put a player on the unprotected list, teams decided that that player was NOT a top player, or at the very least, wasn’t as valuable to them as other players/prospects. After the expansion draft, EVERYONE said Vegas blew the draft by taking a bunch of shit players and they would finish in last place by far. After the fact, they say “oh, you only got to the Finals because the NHL gave it to you.” You can’t have it both ways. They made horrible picks and will finish in last and you only won because you took the best players from everybody else. By the way, what do you mean by “Knights management has not been forth coming (sic) or transparent on very little?” Doesn’t that mean they have been forthcoming and transparent on pretty much everything? And P.S. who says they owe us (fans and media) any explanation? Sure we want to know and have a right to ask, but if they decide not to explain their decisions or are vague about internal matters, who cares? There are plenty of other Facebook GMs who will not hesitate to tell you why.
the hockey god
i wouldn’t be so hard on ex GMGM, he was boxed in by two things : 1) salary cap and 2) another player who lied about wanting to be in VEGAS. In regard to no.2 this line of reasoning is hard to ignore. Tatar didn’t want to be here, that other Russian didn’t want to be here, Neal didn’t want to be here. and Perron didn’t want to be here. Vegas is turning out to be a hard destination to attract a high percentage of players on the cusp. As far as Gusov is concerned he is taking a BIG TAX hit, and his compensation is far, far ,far less than what he would have gotten in VEGAS. Gusev gets hit by one of the largest TAX HIT STATES in NEW JERSEY. He gets dinged by high state income taxes, sales taxes , real estate taxes, and bunch of other taxes. He said he liked VEGAS. A BALD FACED LIE. Next point. Why was he benched for play offs ? Because he SUCKED in practice. The other RUSSIAN was better in practice than he was. Brandon P. clearly out played him in practice sessions and that earned him a spot in playoffs final game. Although he should have been put in earlier. Gusev is not an HONEST player. His words don’t back up his actions, and if he plays like he practiced he will be a big BUST. It will take him at least half the season to get going , and the media back east will EAT HIM ALIVE if he gets off to a poor start.
“Vegas is turning out to be a hard destination to attract a high percentage of players on the cusp.”
THG……back away from the edge…..please. Show me your hands. Please…..back away from the edge and show your hands……… WTF
I am struggling to find Gusev’s words where he lied. The fact is he did not. Because he did not sign a contract here does not mean he lied. If I remember correctly, it was Ken (through a translator) who asked Gusev about playing in Vegas after July 1 and I think he said something to the effect of him appreciating the Golden Knights for bringing him over and he would give them the first chance to sign him. He was the top player in the KHL and asked for $4 – $4.5M per year. How outrageous! It wasn’t like there was a precedent of a certain desert-based NHL team paying a 30-year-old KHL star $4.5M per for two years. Oh wait, scratch that.
And next, how many practices did you attend and which team do you scout for? Clearly you must have been at all the practices and based on your years of NHL talent evaluation, YOU decided he sucked in practice and that’s why he didn’t play. “The other RUSSIAN was better in practice than he was”? Which other Russian? Zykov? You’re right, He was so much better in practice before Games 5, 6, and 7 that he played . . . 0 minutes also. “Vegas is turning out to be a hard destination to attract a high percentage of players on the cusp”? What the hell does that even mean? Forget it. You haven’t figured out after two season that Gerard Gallant has his way of doing things and that’s not going to change. Players have to earn his trust over time. He sticks with guys he trusts and George McPhee has always said he gets the players and Gallant coaches the team. He didn’t know Gusev (who also doesn’t speak English) and you think he was going to put him into the lineup in a critical playoff game and hope he could play their system after a few days and not being able to communicate with his teammates on the ice? Not likely.
I don’t get all of the GM bashing. I feel he did what he could. Nothing was promised between the Knights and Gusev for him to come over. Even Gusev made that comment. GM had one idea and Gusev had another. Sounds like GM was willing to give him a shot on the 3rd line on a reasonable contract and Gusev wanted something more. Can’t blame Gusev on that. Nor can I blame GM for walking away from $4m.
People want to scream to “make it happen”. Well sometimes shit doesn’t happen. If Gusev wants his minutes and money, he’s not gonna sign until he gets it, I believe that GM was trying to come up with a way to make it work for both sides but ran out of time and options. He was given an ultimatum from Gusev’s camp to get something done or they would go back to Russia. So GM got what he could for Gusev given there were only two serious offers on the table.
People want to blame GM but maybe it was Gusev who wouldn’t budge. Maybe he didn’t care where he ended up as long as he got his payday and was on a top 6 line. Something the Knights wouldn’t offer him and imo shouldn’t offer him. No one will really ever know all of the details of what happened. What I do believe is why would you blow up your bottom 6 line to sign someone who may not want to be there. Answers are not always black and white.
I blame him for trading haula before having any sort of deal with gusev
I blame him for not trading holden, for sure. Personally, I think holden, Reaves and eakin should have been traded for picks and prospects. That gives us nearly 9mil, 10 mil assuming the other moves we made were still there..Bring in glass, schudlt and hauge/whitecloud and… Literally anyone to replace Reaves. Then deal with gusev. If it still cant work, go with haula.
I don’t blame him for losing gusev. I blame him for putting us in a place where losing gusev means we have pirri on our 3rd line. Outrageous.
Again no one really knows the details of what was happening at the time. It can be easy to sit back and say trade Eakin but what if at that moment, GM knew or felt strongly given the negotiations that signing Gusev was not going to happen. Do you still trade Eakin? I don’t think so. Why would you?
I think GM knew early on Gusev might not work out and that is why he made a hard push for Micheal Ferland to replace the Haula trade.
I do believe that GM has been trying to find trading partners for both Holden and Reaves but hasn’t found any. Personally I don’t think he will ever find a trading partner for Holden. Which in the end really doesn’t matter because he can just put him on waivers. So there is no rush to do anything there yet.
Having Reaves on the team isn’t a detriment so if GM can’t trade him then so be it. We honestly don’t need anymore draft picks anyway. I personally would rather have Reaves on the team and on the ice then a couple of draft picks.
The only hiccup I have seen so far is the Haula trade. I do believe GM traded Haula to clear some space to try and sign Gusev. But it didn’t happen so now he needs to work on that piece. And I think he is doing that. I think he continues to look for someone to bring in. In the meantime, signing Pirri to a small contract doesn’t hurt anything and doesn’t take up much cap space. I haven’t heard one word that Pirri will be full time on the 3rd line so jumping to that conclusion is a little premature.
All this talk about trading Reaves and Holden cracks me up.. What are you trading them for?? You say how horrible those contracts are and yet you expect teams to be knocking down the door to take them?
Oh and by the way that Stanley Cup that got hoisted in our building, who was the GM that built that team? Hmmm
Do you really think Gusev, the reigning KHL mvp was going to come over here and play for 925k??
IMO getting him over here was an insurance policy for if they couldn’t get the Karlsson deal done. Once that deal was done GMGM knew they had zero chance of signing Gusev. Should he have announced that to the hockey world??
It’s a salary cap league dudes. You can’t keep every good player. Chemistry matters. Paying guys that have paid their dues in this league matters.
We didn’t need a return for them, aside from a low pick or a prospect. They are easy to replace. The wolves can replace them on tiny contracts, and free up space for gusev or haula, who got traded for peanuts before we had a 3rd line rw in place. Don’t get me wrong, I love Reaves, but he gets like 15 points a year. I know he plays a different role, and i appreciate it, but it’s a role that’s easy to replace cheap compared to someone who puts up points.
Consider this… Reaves and haula get paid the same. And we traded haula, and pirri is now our 3rd line wing. Does that seem reasonable?
It was a missed opportunity loosing Gusev? Question? Why does everyone think he would of been a 3rd liner? That’s projection not fact. He could of been whatever he showed in camp. Yes, chemistry matters, but talent overcomes alot. Why didn’t Gusev play in the playoffs? Because Gallant didn’t want to disturb the chemistry until the next round. 3 to 1 lead against San Jose, he wasn’t needed. As far as chemistry, is that a joke ? These are grown men, professionals, understand ? A great player can make everyone better. If Gusev showed he belonged, guys understand he earned a spot in maybe the 1st or 2nd line. It’s competition, does anyone get that? Nobody is guaranteed a line, IMOP. Our guys aren’t babies, this competition keeps everyone sharp, on their game. They make millions, it’s ok to keep them on edge, working hard, earning their keep. Taxes? New Jersey Winters? Gusev will be holed up in a 2 bedroom condo, paying millions in bullshit taxes in a deep blue state. He could of spent days in Summerlin or Red Rock, in an estate with acerage maybe, 70 degree weather in February or doing laps in his pool. His agent really screwed him, just hammered him. Incompetence doesn’t describe his move here, more like gross negligence. WTF !!!!
the hockey god
i agree, esp with coach lack of flexibility in playoffs in rotating players and in other areas.
Hey navy … It’s ok to disagree with parts of my post. So may I return the favor! 🙂 Of the 5 players you named that we “lost”: Gusev never played last year, Haula missed almost all of the year, Miller up & down all season (too many stupid penalties), never been impressed with Carpenter. Bellamare we WILL miss. He’s a class hard working player and great on PK. And to say we got “bounced” in first round, that we clearly should have won … well???? So, we have virtually all of our best core players & scorers back. If flower can hold up his end, we CAN win the cup!!!!!!!
Ken, notice that the McPhee defenders on here are saying that other teams did not want Reaves and Holden with their contracts.
What does that tell you about the incompetence of McPhee that he gave those guys contracts that are supposedly unmoveable?
and of course, there remains the issue of why did McPhee trade Haula BEFORE he had signed Gusev? There was no need to do that, and he gave Gusev’s agent more leverage by trading Haula first.
and how about McPhee talking about team chemistry. It was McPhee who brought Gusev over in the middle of a playoff series and interrupted the team chemistry.
Haula and Belly’s money is in Karlsson’s pockets now. Once that contract was signed they were over the cap and somebody had to go.
NOBODY is taking the Holden or Reaves contract unless WE sweeten the deal by throwing in a pick or prospect also.
Are people really suggesting we put a guy with ZERO minutes of real ice time with the team in to game 7 of a Stanley Cup Playoff?
Everyone talks about how Gusev can score. You know who else can score? Pirri..
Does anyone talk about how Gusev is a 200 ft player that can matchup against the other teams top lines?
I think Gusev and the Knights both had the same problem. They both got really good really fast and ultimately that’s why the dollars would never work.
This has been a great thread! Some nice energy on a way too long offseason!!
Some folks need to learn the cba rules. in the summer you can go over the cap by 10%. iow, about $89 mill
you only have to be cap compliant at the beginning of the season.
also, I am a big fan of Pirri. That does not change the fact that McPhee failed miserably with the Gusev situation.
bottom line= McPhee in Sept is no longer the GM of this team, and he goes out on a sour note.
Ken, I’m a little disappointed by the title of your article. Bobbled? Jugglers bobble. Babies heads bobble. Bobbleheads bobble. It should have been titled “McPhee Fucks Up Again”. Just kidding…sorta.
Can someone explain to me how we can lose five players, four of which were starters, not add a single player and somehow claim chemistry is important or be closer to a Stanley Cup than another first round exit? There is only two ways that happens A) everyone has to stay healthy and improve their game better than they were last year and/or B) the other teams get worse. I haven’t seen St. Louis, Dallas, Nashville, Winnipeg, or Calgary taking a big step back from last year in the offseason so that leaves us with Option A. The only way we win a cup now is that our players all need to improve their performance over last year. Not sure if that is a reliable, smart strategy. We still need more talent but thanks to poor decision making, we don’t have the money to do so. I hope GM/Kelly is asked about this trade at every interview he does for the rest of the year.
So McPhee knows he has to negotiate a contract with this guy and you expect him to be talking him up, singing his praises like he’s the second coming of Gretzky. Even if McPhee thought he was the best player it seems to me it was all setting a position for negotiations. Negations it turns out he didn’t have the cap space nor the stomach to complete.
I just don’t understand the repeated comment about losing 5 players. Only 3 of them played the entire season and none of them are “scorers”. We are going to be fine from the scoring aspect. What we need now, is solid def/PK play from our returners and 1 or 2 of the young guys. (How can you MISS guys this year who didn’t even play last year)???????? Shaky logic.