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Tag: George McPhee (Page 1 of 20)

Recap Of George McPhee’s Presser On Max Pacioretty And The Impact Of What He Said

#67 is here to stay (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

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

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Still Seemingly No End In Sight For The Shea Theodore Contract Negotiations

Call it a holdout, call it a contract dispute, call it a player not showing up to camp because of a weird situation in the CBA, but whatever you call it, it’s starting to look and sound more and more likely that Shea Theodore will not be with the team when full training camp opens in less than a week.

Don’t call it a holdout. Or… Do call it a holdout. Doesn’t really matter either way. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Theodore remains without a contract and thus, he almost certainly (even though McPhee said he’s welcome to) won’t be in camp with his teammates. The situation remains a tricky one for the Golden Knights and Theodore because the team is only required to offer him a deal worth less than $1 million and the player’s only recourse to attempt to coax more money out of the Golden Knights is to “hold out” of camp and possibly even regular season games.

(If you are new to this situation, read this article, then this one and you should be caught up.)

GM George McPhee, speaking with the media at City National Arena yesterday did not make it sound like the two sides are on the verge of an agreement.

It’s always best to have all of your guys available, but I don’t feel any particular pressure. We’ll do a deal when the deal is right. If he’s not here, then someone else will play. -McPhee

He went into fairly good detail about why a deal is not in place yet.

It’s an interesting part of our collective bargaining agreement that there’s a group of players, like Shea, that don’t have arbitration rights. And as much as some people dislike arbitration, I’ve always liked it because it’s a tool to get a contract done. People get pressured into getting a deal done or you go to arbitration and you have a contract after arbitration. There’s a group of 10 or 15 good young players in the league that don’t have arb rights and don’t have contracts right now and it takes a while to work them out. It would be nice if they have arb rights because then it’d be done by now. -McPhee

What he’s really saying is that there’s no formal deadline, and because of it, there’s hardly any pressure for either side to bend their stance of what they want to get out of the negotiations.

Like every negotiation, it’s about leverage and timelines. Theodore’s only recourse to force the Golden Knights into seeing things his way (meaning giving him more money) is to stay away from the team, hoping his absence will be enough to change their mind.

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McPhee Walks Back Support Of Schmidt In Clearing Team’s Involvement With Illegal Substance

For the first time since the 20 game suspension of Nate Schmidt was handed down by the league, GM George McPhee met with the media to answer questions. He opened with a quick statement explaining that he is unable to talk about the specifics of the situation but, admittedly against his better judgment (“I probably shouldn’t even talk about this”), did to go into a bit of detail about how the Golden Knights handle supplements with their players.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Prior to this press conference, based solely on the statement the team released following the NHL’s announcement, the Golden Knights seemed to be strongly backing Schmidt, however, McPhee’s statements today did a lot to separate that support from any accusations of wrongdoing by the team in this situation.

The organization isn’t responsible for (pause)… It didn’t come from us. Everything we have, any supplements, any vitamins are all NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) approved, we know where our food comes from. So there are no issues with respect to the club. So now you are going to say the onus is on him but I can tell you in this process a lot of you can go for a protein shake at a health food store around here and test positive tomorrow. -McPhee

This is a pretty stark contrast to Schmidt’s statement six days ago.

The fact that I’m issuing this statement is surreal to me as I have only used supplements provided by my NHL team and I have always been extremely careful about what I put into my body. -Nate Schmidt

McPhee was pressed further on the discrepancy.

With what we supply in terms of food and supplements and vitamins and in terms of the way we test our players, and I’m certainly not going to give away all the ammunition of how we do things for other clubs, but we do a lot of testing and we do defensible documentation and we are in a good place with that. -McPhee

McPhee also offered a comment about what he told other players on the team, furthering his stance that the substance which caused Schmidt to test positive did not come from the Golden Knights.

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Full George McPhee Press Conference – September 6th, 2018

GM George McPhee spoke to the media today for the first time since the NHL handed Nate Schmidt a 20 game suspension. He talks about Schmidt, Shea Theodore’s contract, Nikita Gusev’s future, a few rookies and their chances of making the team, and more.

(We apologize for the audio quality, $14 voice recorders are only so good.)

**Subscribe to the SinBin.vegas Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play now to listen to this on your phone.**

Major Trade Before Opening Night? Don’t Count On It

GM George McPhee recently made a comment that has many feeling like a trade is imminent.

We’re happy where we are. If there’s an opportunity to upgrade at the forward position at any time over the next year we will. –George McPhee to Las Vegas Sun

But for those hoping he’ll find that forward, or even those still holding out hope for an Erik Karlsson trade, don’t bother until the year begins because August and September mega-trades simply aren’t in McPhee’s nature. Since McPhee started his general managing career in 1997, he’s made six trades from the period of August 15th to opening night. All six transactions were minor with the exception of one.

McPhee did make a deal last year before VGK’s first game, but it wasn’t quite the blockbuster most are hoping for. Calvin Pickard for Tobias Lindberg and a 6th round pick. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s not just McPhee, plenty of moves are made from now until opening night, but not many are significant. In fact, since 1997 there were 123 trades during that window. Only two could be considered significant. So don’t expect the Golden Knights to pull off a blockbuster trade any time soon.

(See below the article for a complete list of all trades between August 14th and Opening Night)

Could the current climate in Ottawa change the preseason’s transaction activity? Sure, but based on the past 20 season it seems very unlikely. Especially going off of McPhee’s history. In 18 seasons at the helm, the GM only made a handful of moves from the middle of August to opening night, and most were depth additions.

Asking any general manager to pull off a franchise-altering move before October is a tall order. As much as it would make them better, adding Karlsson before the Golden Knights season begins is not likely to happen. However, rumors with Ottawa will be floating all season, so expect McPhee to show interest later in the season.

Or not at all. There’s always free agency.

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Front Office Confidence Rankings

“Are these idiots aware we just took an expansion team to the Stanley Cup Final? 11th place. Sheesh.” (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

How confident are you in the Golden Knights front office?

That’s the question The Athletic’s Dom Luszczyszyn asked more than 2,000 fans in an attempt to rank all 31 teams. The entire breakdown of how it was conducted and full results can be found here, but since there’s a paywall at The Athletic I’ll tell you some stuff myself. The most important piece of info is that very few Golden Knights fans voted, so a majority of the poll is viewed through the eyes of other teams’ fans.

That being said, the Golden Knights fans that did vote showed supreme confidence in George McPhee, Kelly McCrimmon, and the front office, while the rest of the fanbases weren’t nearly as kind.

11th place seems a bit ridiculous for the Western Conference Champions whose roster didn’t exist at this time 13 months ago. Even the fanbase only voted high enough to rank the Golden Knights 7th too.

Here at SinBin.vegas, we were not able to vote, so here’s how we would have voted with a little description of why for each section. We’re also going to extend the voting to you guys using polls on Twitter. Vote on Twitter, see the results below. (Note: We don’t have the exact questions, so we are simply going off the words listed in the poll results. Therefore, as you’ll see in our responses, there can be different interpretations for each category.)

Roster Building
Ken – 5
Jason – 4

Ken: This roster was supposed to be absolute garbage. Even with the better Expansion Draft rules, most people (myself included) looked at it and said they would be the worst team in the league. They are so far from that it’s not even funny. Instead, they have an elite first line, a ton of balance throughout the rest of the forward group, a solid defense corps with a bunch of upside, and a Vezina quality goalie. Quite frankly, no one in the world could have built a better roster than this one from what was available, and the only team capable of beating McPhee’s new team was his old one. If there was a number higher than 5, I’d vote for that.

Jason: Coming to terms with William Karlsson was the biggest priority for Vegas this offseason. Karlsson signed a team-friendly deal that could set him for a big payday down the road. Extending Colin Miller was another move the Golden Knights should be happy with. Controlling young talent is a major benefit Vegas management takes advantage of, which is a smart strategy building a future roster.

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McPhee, Golden Knights At Fork In Road; Which Path Should They Take?

On the night of the NHL Awards, George McPhee answered a question of mine in a way he’d never done before. He listened to my poorly phrased but pointed question and said, “that’s a good question.” That’s the moment I knew I was on to something.

Before we get to my question though we need to go back a little bit to a discussion pretty much everyone close to the Golden Knights has had at some point over the course the past year. The “why were the Golden Knights good” discussion.

Apparently you don’t need to be talented to be good… or maybe you do and that was all just a mirage? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

You’ve been there, debated it with someone, maybe even me. I’m sure you touched on things like “chips on shoulders,” “increase in opportunity,” “character,” or some other way to explain the fact that the Golden Knights did not have the best collection of hockey players in the NHL, yet still managed to come within three wins of lifting the Stanley Cup.

That’s where McPhee comes back in. Earlier in the same press conference in which I asked my “good question,” McPhee said this…

We did go by some people that may have been more talented but we wanted the right personalities, the right people here, and we put a lot into that and it’s an intangible that’s hard to describe but you know it when you see it. It was those intangibles that really carried this team a long way because all the other teams were more talented than we were. -George McPhee

I’m going to make you read that last part one more time. 

…All the other teams were more talented than we were. -McPhee

According to their own GM, the Western Conference Champions were the least talented team in the NHL. Take it literally like that or not, the sentiment is still the same, the Golden Knights were not as talented as most, if not all, of their opponents. Yet, they won and won and won and nearly won the whole kit and caboodle.

You made it to the Stanley Cup Final with the least talented team built mostly around “character,” is that a sustainable strategy moving forward, or do you need to go out and add more talent to remain among the best teams in the league?

That was what I was trying to ask, instead, I said this…

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History Shows Trading Young Talent For A Current Superstar Isn’t a Bad Move

Trades involving generational players in their primes are rare in the NHL. Over the course of the last 30 years, it’s happened about five times. Yet, with the Draft getting underway tomorrow and free agency on July 1st, Erik Karlsson’s name could be added to that list any moment.

It seems like Theodore might be on his way to Ottawa if McPhee can complete a deal for Karlsson. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When it comes to a unique talent like Karlsson, every GM in the league will show interest. However, most know they either don’t have the assets or the cap space to acquire the 28-year-old superstar defenseman. Ottawa shipped out Mike Hoffman which solved one problem but they took on salary in the deal, further indicating another deal may be on the horizon. At this point, unless Karlsson is demanding a trade they don’t have to move him. Unfortunately for the Senators, he probably is. Ottawa’s front office may continue to force Bobby Ryan’s hefty contract ($7.25M/4 yrs), forcing some teams to stay away. In the Senators eyes, if the deal isn’t right that’s not their problem.

Erik is a franchise player. We felt that there was no franchise deal out there that could satisfy us to make the best hockey deal. -Pierre Dorion at trade deadline

This may be an unpopular look at the Karlsson to Vegas trade rumors because I know how apprehensive Golden Knights fans are about saying goodbye to their favorite players. Hey, I hear ya. After all, I am the founding member of the Shea Theodore fan club, but it is a business, and if the Golden Knights make a move for Karlsson, their probably on to something.

History tells us teams that make the trade for a star player will usually see major dividends, while the players shipped out tend to have mediocre careers.

  • Los Angeles receives: Wayne Gretzky, Marty McSorley, and Mike Krushelnyski
  • Edmonton receives: Three 1st round picks, Martin Gelinas, Jimmy Carson, and $15 million

I won’t waste your time going over Gretzky’s statistics or influence after he was traded to LA. The Oilers were really only in it for the cash. They knew they would lose the trade no matter what, so the closest thing of value was millions of dollars. That being said, they did get two players in the deal.

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Golden Knights Results At NHL Awards

Should have been a Selke candidate, could have been a Hart candidate, but the Lady Byng will have to do. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For every Golden Knight, any trophy they win tonight is not the one they really wanted. However, a little hardware for an amazing season never hurt anybody. Vegas has four finalists in four separate categories at the 2018 NHL Awards. William Karlsson is up for Lady Byng (sportsmanship), Deryk Engelland for Mark Messier Leadership Award, Gerard Gallant is a shoe-in for Jack Adams (coach of the year), and George McPhee for GM of the Year.

The other finalists for each award are as follows. (We will update each award with the winner as well as some quotes and whatever else we come across throughout the night)

Lady Byng Trophy

William Karlsson (VGK)
Aleksander Barkov (FLA)
Ryan O’Reilly (BUF)

Winner: William Karlsson

To be honest I’m more nervous, kind of scared. What if I win? I have to go up on the stage, it’s kind of scary. For sure (scarier than playing the Stanley Cup Final). Much more. At least I know what I do on the ice. Going up on the stage and potentially having to speak to a lot of people is a lot scarier. -William Karlsson

It’s very special, just looking back a year ago who would have thought I would have been sitting here nominated for an award, but to win it, it’s been a crazy year. -Karlsson

Messier Leadership Award

Deryk Engelland (VGK)
Wayne Simmonds (PHI)
Blake Wheeler (WPG)

Winner: Deryk Engelland

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Western Conference Champions Plus Plenty Of Cap Space, A GM’s Dream

In physics, there’s a principle that for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction. When object A exerts force, object B responds with the exact same amount of force in return. If a person sits, the body exerts a downward force against the chair while the chair comes back with an equal upward force against the body. This is called Newton’s Third Law. In hockey, it’s called the salary cap.

Can’t say I’m entirely sure what Newton’s laws would say about this one. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The idea behind the salary cap is to restrain the best teams from going out into free agency, snapping up all the best (and highest paid) players, and becoming even better, all the while seeing the bad teams get worse. It’s designed to promote parity and it does so by creating an opposite force against teams that consistently win.

Luckily for the Golden Knights, the force exerted by the salary cap while opposite, does not have to be equal.

Instead, George McPhee and the Golden Knights sit in most envious of positions.

We have a good team and we don’t have any cap pressures, we’re not tight on the cap. That’s a position you like to avoid, but we’ll see how things shake out. -George McPhee

He’s actually understating it there. The Golden Knights have an elite team, good enough to amass 109 points in the regular season, win the Pacific Division in a landslide, and eventually be crowned the Western Conference Champions. At the same time, Vegas currently sits as the team with the 3rd most salary cap space. They have a whopping $26.475 million of projected available cap space plus the ability to utilize long-term injured reserve (LTIR) to gain another $5+ million.

Oh, and, the Golden Knights have three first draft picks from the top 15 in last year’s draft and 12 picks in the first three rounds of the next three drafts.

Add it all up, and the Golden Knights have absolutely everything necessary to turn a losing team into a winning one, except they weren’t a losing team, instead they were the second best team in all of the NHL.

It’s up to us to put a team on the ice that’s better. Sometimes you succeed, sometimes you don’t, but that’s the job, to make them better and to deliver a Stanley Cup, that’s why we’re here. -McPhee

This is where the story gets really good for those who are hoping the Year 1 trip to the Stanley Cup Final wasn’t an anomaly. I asked McPhee if he’s ever been in a position as good as the one he appears to be in right now as the GM of the Golden Knights. The answer I was expecting was “no.” The answer I got was much better.

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