George McPhee met with the media to talk about the trade for Max Pacioretty. Here’s absolutely everything you need to know about what he said and why it all matters.
- Trade negotiations for Pacioretty began after the draft and it took a couple months to get done. It picked up considerably the last few days and then GM Marc Bergevin gave McPhee about seven hours to negotiate a contract with Pacioretty. The trade would not have happened at all if Vegas did not have a contract extension in place for Pacioretty. Trade with the team was contingent upon the deal with the player. The contracr extension was $28 million for 4 years or $7 million AAV against the salary cap.
- Why it matters: This proves the Golden Knights would not have taken the risk to give up as much as they did if they did not have the guarntee that they would have Pacioretty for longer than just the one year. It also shows a bit of a template for what McPhee may be thinking in the Erik Karlsson deal. Not looking for a rental at this time, at least not at as steep of a price as he paid for Pacioretty.
- McPhee confirmed a previous deal that Montreal had (reported as being the LA Kings) that did not work out because a contract extension could not be reached. Thus, Montreal was reluctant to allow Vegas to negotiate with Pacioretty before a deal was completed.
- McPhee says he thinks Pacioretty fits well with the Golden Knights. Called him a scorer and a great two-way player that can play in all situations.
- Why it matters: McPhee did not like the defense of the second line (Neal, Perron, Haula) last year. So he went out and acquired two strong defensive players that also have a lot of offensive potential. Pacioretty and Stastny will both help on power play and penalty kill. In McPhee’s mind the team is even better now than it was a year ago. (I agree.)
- McPhee also specifically mentioned that Pacioretty has played for Gerard Gallant in the past (while Gallant was an assistant in Montreal).
We’ve added a couple of players in Stastny and Pacioretty that are very good two-way players, very good character people. So I hope that we are a better team than we were last year. Time will tell. -McPhee
- Nick Suzuki playing center (despite coach Rocky Thompson specifically saying he’d stay on the wing the night before) during the rookie game was not related to the trade according to McPhee. Said the rosters had to be in by 10 AM and the trade was not completed by then so the two are unrelated.
- Why it matters: It was a peculiar situation to hear a coach say something very specific and then go completely in the face of it the very next day. It made sense than something came from above to lead to Suzuki playing center, basically showcasing him for the Canadiens. McPhee denies that is what happened, but I’m still skeptical. It’s also a bit of a surprise that they wouldn’t pull Suzuki from the game. It would have created a bit of a media storm, but the risk of injury blowing up the trade was there every time he stepped on the ice during last night’s game.
I think you have to look at the players and sort of their physical makeup and skating ability when you have a guy with speed, they can typically play longer, if they lose half a step then they are just average instead of slow and that makes a difference. Or if his scoring tails off a little bit then he’s getting you 25 instead of 35. -McPhee
- McPhee then went on to talk a lot about how great of a place he believes the Golden Knights are in every facet. He believes they have a lot of good contracts, plenty of cap space, a great roster, and a cupboard full of promising prospects. In other words, he loves the team as it is but also still has the flexibility to make it even better if the right situation arises.
- Why it matters: The Golden Knights are in a dream spot. They’ve got a potentially Cup winning roster, while also having a bunch of strong prospects and a ton of cap space. This fact is why Erik Karlsson absolutely still remains in play for the Golden Knights. They have the flexibility to do whatever they believe is best for the team, and if McPhee can get the right deal, he’ll do it. No other team is in as strong a position in every facet like Vegas.
- Erik Haula’s position will be decided by Gallant. McPhee wouldn’t commit to him being a center or a winger and also would not answer where he believes Haula fits in the lineup.
- Why it matters: The Golden Knights still have seven players who fit into six spots. Karlsson, Marchessault, Smith, Stastny, Pacioretty, Tuch, and Haula. Someone is going to be left out of the top six and it’s going to be very important for that player to not disappear like Tatar did while he was here.
- Max Pacioretty’s knee, which kept him out of the last month of the season, is “fine.”
- Why it matters: If there’s any concern at all with the knee, this trade is a massive risk. McPhee does not seem to believe there is.
Can’t allow what we did three months ago to effect a good decision today. We’re going to do what’s right for the club, and we did. -McPhee on “giving up too much” for Pacioretty
- Why it matters: A lot of people look at the Pacioretty trade as Tatar , Suzuki, and a 2nd as an overpayment when you consider what was given up to get Tatar. In theory it’s a 1st, two 2nds, a 3rd, and Suzuki for Pacioretty. That’s a lot, yes. But this is another example of McPhee being willing and able to correct mistakes he may have made in the past and making his team better.
- What we tried to accomplish in the Expansion Draft was to put a good team on the ice and to get a lot of surplus picks that we will use to either draft our way to a championship or to use to acquire players that can help us now and we’re doing it. We still have lots of picks and I think this organization is in a good place. We’re here to try and win and to do that every year. We’re comfortable with what we’ve done otherwise we wouldn’t have done it.
- Why it matters: Still plenty of ammo in the gun to still make more happen.
- McPhee made it very clear that Pacioretty will not be named the captain in Vegas. He just wants him to come in and be a part of the group and play hockey, not to worry about all of the other stuff. He followed up saying they aren’t going to have a captain at all because “it works for this team.”
- Pacioretty has a limited No Trade Clause that begins next season and allows him to submit a list of 10 teams in which he cannot be traded.
- Why it matters: If Pacioretty is to regress or if the team starts to struggle, they may want to move him. He has the power to veto a trade to 10 different teams which could make things trickier. The Golden Knights now have seven players with No Trade Clauses in their contracts. (See them here)
We’re not going to get a player like Pacioretty without doing something like (giving up Nick Suzuki). Fortunately, we’ve drafted well enough that we can do that. We have the assets to allow us to make a move like that. We had the assets to do it, and we landed the player. -McPhee
- McPhee said he doesn’t think there’s any relationship between finally completing this deal and the Shea Theodore contract negotiations.
- Why it matters: With this trade in the works for so long it’s reasonable that McPhee was trying to get it done before he did anything else with Theodore. Any movement would be positive for a deal getting done. McPhee saying nothing changes means it still remains probable that Theodore is not in camp and may even miss regular season games.
Here’s the press conference in its entirety.