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Never-Ending Deadline Speculation Continues

Remember, Shippy’s agent had some things to say too… (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Like restless fans, ESPN Insider Rob Vollman is getting prepared for the trade deadline. He ranked NHL general managers most likely to make a late-season deal. To no surprise, Golden Knights GM George McPhee made Vollman’s list.

The numbers show McPhee is rather active when it comes to trades, averaging 2.8 per season and 1.6 per year actually on deadline day.

Vegas is in the unexpected position of being buyers at the trade deadline, but don’t expect any big moves at the deadline because McPhee was not known for blockbuster trades in his time as Washington’s GM. Other than accidentally giving up a future star in Forsberg, McPhee never surrendered more than a second-round pick or a secondary prospect to get what he wanted (since 2005).- Rob Vollman, Insider


Vollman notes McPhee isn’t known for blockbusters around the trade deadline, but this is uncharted waters for an expansion team. Somehow McPhee will try to balance this season’s success and the future of the franchise. No doubt the Vegas brass will be making some difficult decisions before February 26th.

Adding fuel to the fire were comments by James Neal’s agent to Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review Journal.

(The whole story from the RJ, which is a gem, can be found here.)

Agents can be a bit tricky as they are in the know, but also have pretty strong agendas. There’s no doubt this is great stuff from Morris, but things can change in a hurry if negotiations with Neal and the Golden Knights aren’t moving along like McPhee would like.

Finally, we need to revisit a story we wrote last week

Well there’s no question, they’re not selling. -Bob McKenzie (on TSN)

Nine days later, speaking on NBC Sports Network, McKenzie altered his comment, re-opening the door and leaving a lot more room for speculation.

General Manager George McPhee is in an interesting spot. The fans, the ownership would go crazy if they started offloading guys for a whole bunch of future considerations. But he also can’t be foolish enough to say let’s talk contract with James Neal, let’s talk contract with David Perron… if we’re not getting deals done… let’s at least listen to what we’re being offered for these guys. -McKenzie (on NBCSN)

Last week on TSN radio it was a sure thing, but now on NBCSN there’s room for “at least listening.” Odds are it’s just the Bobfather taking a safer approach with the larger TV audience, but it certainly perked our ears up and made us wonder if maybe he heard something to make him change his mind.

George McPhee’s options are wide open. He’s not going to do anything before the last week of the trade deadline, to see which way he needs to go. -McKenzie (on NBCSN)

So what does it all mean?

It means fans should prepare for everything. No VGK fan should be shocked if they sell, if they buy, or if they do absolutely nothing. This is a situation no GM has ever been in, so the options really are all in play. McPhee has continuously said he won’t derail the Golden Knights success, but this is a business after all, and at this point in time, he probably doesn’t even know what’s going to happen.




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  1. Brian

    “I don’t negotiate in public, but let me throw out a few crumbs for the public to hear like how much James means to the team and has done for it this season. OH—and he loves it there”…… !!

    GMGM and PM are no doubt have some VERY spirited discussions. The Bobfather heard SOMETHING for sure, like Nealer’s agent asking for a 6 years in the $42-48mil range is my guess.

    • Ty

      6 years for Neal is a non-starter.

    • Joe

      6 years with an AAV of $7-8 mil for a 30 year old winger would be insanity. $5-6 would be much more reasonable, and if it isn’t, Neal’s value won’t get much higher that it is now. I get wanting to go for it, but is it worth hampering future chances with what could very well turn into a bad contract.

  2. Bent Hermit

    Neal and Perron need each other to be successful. Neal has to have a guy that is good at carrying the puck and is a good set up man. His best year was playing with Malkin who does that but at a higher level. Perron needs to be with a shooter to have success. Even if they don’t reach a deal with either player I don’t think they will trade either player because they will have to find the same type player they just traded. I would still like to see them try some of the guys down in Chicago on the Eakin line before they try to get a player at the deadline. Leipsic and Lindbergh are the only forwards to be in the negative for turnovers. Plus they still need someone to work the front of the net during the PP.

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