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Tag: George McPhee (Page 1 of 19)

Future Cap Better Than Present Team

Three of the four major professional sports in North America have a salary cap. The reason the salary cap is used in leagues like the NHL is to keep parity as high as possible. It makes it challenging to keep all of the best players while helping to distribute them to the weaker teams in the process.

Hopefully guys will keep taking fair prices like Marchessault did before testing free agency. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

This may be hard to believe, but even with the superb talent the Golden Knights have put on the ice in 2017-18, with the three 1st round picks, and with the contract extensions for Jonathan Marchessault, Jon Merrill, and Deryk Engelland, George McPhee’s biggest asset from the Expansion Draft is still the salary cap.

When all is said and done with this season, the Golden Knights will end the season among the bottom 10 teams in money spent against the cap. This includes the contracts of David Clarkson, Mikhail Grabovski, and Clayton Stoner, none of which will play a game for the Golden Knights. It also includes the retained salary of Alexei Emelin and Derick Brassard. Things can change slightly down the stretch, but as it stands, the Golden Knights will be the cheapest team to make the playoffs.

Projected Salary Cap Usage In 2017-18 ($75m Salary Cap)
Vegas Golden Knights – $68,950,653
Buffalo Sabres – $68,698,464
Florida Panthers – $68,068,090
Montreal Canadiens – $67,761,117
New Jersey Devils – $67,421,712
Colorado Avalanche – $66,931,457
Edmonton Oilers – $66,249,688
Carolina Hurricanes – $59,183,386
Arizona Coyotes – $58,768,559
*All other teams are higher

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Tatar Move Serves Now And Later

Insurance for the future, and help for now? That’s the perfect package for McPhee. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

By now fans have to believe in George McPhee’s vision. He’s presented a first-place team, a projected Jack Adams winning coach, and an aggressive front office mentality. While the sensational headlines were all about Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson, the Vegas GM worked on an important last-minute insurance deal.

Newly acquired winger Tomas Tatar wasn’t a replacement for not landing Karlsson. Instead, McPhee traded for a player who could help win now and later. Later being the key.

Tatar comes in, that all but solidifies that James Neal is not coming back. -Nick Kypreos, Sportsnet

McPhee was in a real win-win situation. He elected to make three deadline deals but could’ve easily stood pat.

We were very aggressive. We were buyers at this deadline. We had many discussions with many teams over the past three weeks and explored a lot of things but as we decried today we are very happy with what we accomplished and how we improved. -McPhee

In my eyes, McPhee’s stock rose even higher after the Tatar deal and the Karlsson rumors. I’m not saying his efforts weren’t genuine but you couldn’t have pitched a better marketing plan.

The Ottawa Senators will tell you ‘no they were not close to a deal.’ Whatever offer was on the table from the Vegas Golden Knights … was not sufficient and wasn’t close to what Ottawa would consider acceptable doing a deal. -Bob McKenzie, TSN

Some analysts were puzzled when they heard McPhee had given up three draft picks to receive Tatar. However, when you calculate age, production and term, a player like Tatar was more valuable to the organization, especially when the team is facing tough decisions this summer.

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McKenzie: “Vegas Was Supposed To Be A Seller At The Deadline, They’re Not Selling”

“If those two players walk at the end of the season, they walk. Vegas will deal with that.” (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

If you have an hour or so, take a listen to TSN’s Hockey Bobcast with Bob McKenzie. It’s on my weekly must listen list. This week the Bobfather discussed the needs of all thirty-one NHL teams as he looks ahead to the February 26th trade deadline. Here’s what he had to say about the Golden Knights.

Vegas, my goodness what a story the Vegas Golden Knights are this season. Never seen anything like it in all my time covering the game. They’re not just a good team, they are legit. They look like a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. Now how the hell can we be saying that? -Bob McKenzie, TSN

McKenzie had been running in circles trying to figure out this Golden Knights team. Now he’s starting to sound like George McPhee. McKenzie is confident Vegas management won’t “derail” the team’s success.

This is a legitimate threat, they cannot weaken their team between now and the deadline. -McKenzie

According to the TSN analyst, any open rumors about McPhee listening to offers for pending UFA’s James Neal and David Perron are officially dead.

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Never-Ending Deadline Speculation Continues

Remember, Shippy’s agent had some things to say too… (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas 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, ESPN.com 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.)

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Bobfather Says Golden Knights Won’t Sell; TSN Colleague Disagrees

It’s time for another edition of “Buy, Sell, or Hold!” Today’s contestants weighing in on the Golden Knights trade deadline dilemma are two of TSN’s finest. First up, the Bobfather.

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

McKenzie went on to explain that McPhee and staff have identified a core, and are attempting to lock them up. Following the trend of extending Jonathan Marchessault and Brayden McNabb.

They’ve got a core of young D that they really like. Nate Schmidt, Shea Theodore, and Colin Miller, those guys aren’t going anywhere… I think they’re probably in negotiations with David Perron and James Neal. That’s not to say contracts are absolutely going to get done. -McKenzie

Now to the contrarian argument from the author behind the ever popular Trade Bait, which still has James Neal listed in 10th.

A lot of people are surprised to see Neal still on this list. The fact that he hasn’t been re-signed so far, and we haven’t heard a lot of chatter about that possibility existing. Even though the Golden Knights are in a strong position to be a solid playoff team this season, they’re going to try and accumulate assets for the long-term. With Neal producing the way that he has this year, certainly there will be a lot of interest in him at the deadline. If, the Golden Knights make him available. -Frank Seravalli, TSN

If Bob says it, we believe it. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Keep in mind, Seravalli’s role at TSN is to track trade rumors and whispers from around the league. He’s not saying Neal is gone, but he’s simply warning fans that things could change before the deadline. Especially, since Neal is such an attractive rental for other contenders.

As much as I respect Seravalli and his efforts, it’s tough questioning The Bobfather. If he says Vegas won’t sell, I believe him, which means Neal’s not going anywhere.

Golden Knights May Buy Their “Own Rentals” At The Deadline

Buy, sell, or hold?

David, will you be our own rental? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s the million dollar question for the Golden Knights who remain atop the Pacific Division and the Western Conference halfway through the season. The plan coming in was likely to sell, and sell hard, at the February 26th trade deadline. Then 41 games were played, the Golden Knights lost just 12 of them, and now the landscape looks a bit different.

Due to Vegas’ complex situation, the answer to the “buy, sell, or hold?” question can’t really be just one of those three words. Instead, it will be something like “sell to buy” in which Vegas ships away a UFA or two and bring in a replacement NHL caliber player immediately. Or there’s this scenario which was brought up by Gary Lawless while joining the SinBin.vegas Podcast, something that can be defined as “hold to buy.”

Teams that are in the position of George McPhee’s team acquire rentals. They go out and they say ‘we’re gonna win, so we’re going to take our 1st or 2nd round draft pick and we’re going to trade it for that terrible team’s best scorer who is going to be an unrestricted free agent in July. We’re going to buy him for 12 weeks and we’re going to hope that we win a Stanley Cup.’ If it comes to pass that Vegas is a playoff team and they don’t sign one of their pending free agents, and they use that player to win one or two playoff series, that’s their own rental. -Gary Lawless, VGK Insider

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The Creator Speaks His Mind On Potentially Selling At The Deadline

As the games tick off the schedule and the Golden Knights remain not only in the playoff chase, but in first place, no one can help themselves but to wonder how George McPhee and company will handle the roster come deadline day.

He’s always in the picture. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The stated plan has always been “Playoffs by 3, Cup by 6” with the obvious path to achievement being through acquiring as many assets as possible now to supplement the future. However, with the current Golden Knights proving to be more capable than many expected, including the GM, it’s time to wonder how that plan will change.

When asked recently, and over the course of the past few weeks, George McPhee repeats nearly word for word the exact same statement.

We do have a master plan but if this team is in the hunt way down the road, way down the road in March, then we will stay in the hunt. I wouldn’t derail it. It’s not fair to this team or this community. -George McPhee

That all sounds good and well, but we’re talking about George McPhee here. He’s an incredibly calculated man who isn’t likely to let a few games change a plan he’s had in place for about 18 months since he got the job.

But there’s an elephant in the room, and in the case of the Golden Knights, he literally sits directly next to the McPhee every single game. Here at SinBin.vegas, we call him The Creator. The man who paid for the team, who coined the “Playoffs by three, Cup by six” mantra, and the man who said this recently on the Golden Knights official podcast.

People that know me from my business and my careers, they know I don’t enter anything to not win. I win at everything. -The Creator

The guys on the Sheriff, Lawless and Some Guy Named Dave (Hashtag #SLGND of course. Can’t forget that because they remind us 47 times per episode) posed the question directly to the Golden Knights owner; do you “raise” or “fold” on trading away some of your players at the deadline?

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Expansion Draft Report Card – First Quarter Year 1

We’ve hit the quarter pole of the Golden Knights first season in franchise history. With it comes no better time to begin what’s going to become a staple here at SinBin.vegas, the Expansion Draft Report Card. There will be a total of three report cards each year until it becomes unnecessary. Preseason, post-deadline, post free agency. This serves as the preseason one for year one.

Each selection is graded based on value. Factors taken into consideration rank as follows: Play of player selected, impact on franchise currently, impact moving forward, and other options that were not taken.

So here we go…

Anaheim Ducks
Selection: Clayton Stoner
**TRADE: Golden Knights receive Shea Theodore for Expansion Draft considerations**

One day I’ll earn McPhee an A. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Theodore remains the most talented defenseman on the roster and despite the early “number decision” stint in the AHL, he appears here to stay. He’s taken over the main defenseman spot on the power play and even tallied his first goal in a recent game. This guy should be a Golden Knight for a long time and his future looks incredibly bright. It’ll be an A+ if he turns out to be what we expect, but at this point, he’s still finding his place. The grade also has to take a bit of a knock because of all the other options from the Ducks. Oh, and Stoner is likely not going to play for the Golden Knights at all. Grade: B+

Arizona Coyotes
Selection: Teemu Pulkkinen

The hard-shooting winger couldn’t crack the team out of camp. He’s currently tearing up the AHL with the Wolves, but has yet to get the call back to Vegas. The options were thin from the Coyotes so it’s hard to give a terrible grade here, but it doesn’t seem as if Pulkkinen will ever fit with what Gerard Gallant is looking to do with his team. If he gets recalled at some point things may change, but at the moment, it appears to be a pick that won’t ever pay dividends for the Golden Knights. Grade: D

Boston Bruins
Selection: Colin Miller

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“I’m Certainly Not Going To Sit Here And Derail Anything” -George McPhee

Hey Kelly, I can still trade James Neal and say I’m not derailing anything, right? No? Uh oh. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Playoffs in three, Cup in six. That was the plan the day George McPhee was hired, that was the plan during the Expansion Draft, and that was supposed to be the plan throughout the entire first season.

Then the Golden Knights started 8-1, outplayed a few teams on the road including getting a win in Ottawa, and things may need to change.

I will adjust to whatever is going on as the season goes on. If we are in the hunt, we’ll stay in the hunt, I’m certainly not going to sit here and derail anything. –George McPhee to TSN 1050

Since making that comment on October 26th, the Golden Knights have recalled Shea Theodore, waived Griffin Reinhart and Jason Garrison, and have nearly officially cut bait with “problem-child” Vadim Shipachyov. We’ve also seen a bunch of lineup changes including breaking up the first line of James Neal, David Perron, and Cody Eakin.

It’s only been 13 games, but the Golden Knights are playing great hockey and appear to be making moves to try and win now. No one, including George McPhee, expected that to be the case at any point this year.

As you know, in this business you are just trying to get through each day. I certainly have a plan but you try to get through each day and try to win on gamedays. We said from the start that we want to be as good as we can be and be as competitive as we can be and that’s what we are trying to do. -McPhee

They are competitive, that’s for sure. Now we’ll have to wait and see if McPhee holds his word. The good news is, we’re not going to forget “I’m certainly not going to sit here and derail anything.” So when James Neal, David Perron, and Luca Sbisa are sent out for draft picks in a few months, you can be rest assured we’ve got something to ask the Golden Knights GM.

***

Oh yeah, and we’re officially changing it from “Playoffs in three, Cup in six” to “Playoffs BY three, Cup BY six.” Why wait?

Golden Knights Winning/Future “Balance” Determining All Moves

I probably don’t need to remind you the Vegas Golden Knights are an expansion team, but I may need to remind you that as an expansion team, they are going to operate differently than any other team you’ve ever been a fan of before.

Hey Kelly, have you heard about this “waiver exempt” thing? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The goal is the same as everyone else in every other sport, to eventually win the final game of the postseason and be crowned the ultimate champion of the sport. However, with an expansion team like the Golden Knights, there’s an understanding by the people pulling the strings that it may not be realistic to do that right away.

One of those people pulling the strings used the word “balance” to demonstrate that point in a recent interview with the VGK Insider Show on Fox Sports Radio.

There’s a lot of hockey to be played. There’s a bigger picture to mindful of. There’s a balance that we are going to try to strike where we want to be very competitive, where we want to continue developing players and improving day to day, but at the same time, the goal is to one day bring a championship to Las Vegas, so those are all the different elements of building this franchise. -Kelly McCrimmon, Assistant General Manager

The balance he’s talking about is between being good now and being good in the future. That balance is at the heart of every single roster move the Golden Knights make. It started with the signing of Reid Duke, continued through the Expansion Draft, free agency, Training Camp, and it will affect every trade, signing, waiving, or anything else the front office does to the Golden Knights roster.

The challenge for fans, and writers for that matter, is that the balance is constantly changing. With every day, every move, and every game that goes by, the plan shifts. Sometimes slightly, sometimes drastically.

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