The Golden Knights were in a peculiar spot at the trade deadline this season. They were the reigning Western Conference Champions who believe they upgraded the team in the offseason, they were also firmly entrenched in a playoff position and had as good a shot as anybody in the West to make another run. However, they were mired in the worst slump in franchise history, the magic of the inaugural season appeared to have worn off, they still viewed themselves as a new franchise without a bevy of prospects in the system, and they struck out mightily at the deadline a year ago.
That led to speculation ranging all the way from trying to make the blockbuster, to sitting still and doing nothing, to even selling and focusing on the future like they were supposed to be doing last year. The fact of the matter was, all options were truly on the table for George McPhee, and he had to choose the right one.
In the end, we know how the story goes, they made the biggest splash at the deadline not only acquiring Mark Stone but signing him to a mega-extension keeping him here through 2027.
However, behind the scenes, it looked a bit different.
A lot of people were talking about us ‘big game hunting’ all week and we really weren’t. –George McPhee on Two Man Advantage Podcast
McPhee says he didn’t think the Golden Knights were going to do anything. Then things changed on deadline day, he saw we he thought was a bargain and he went for it.
We had talked to (Ottawa) five days before that and it seemed like it was a lot and we just weren’t going to participate in it, and then a couple of teams dropped out and we got a call and we were back in and we pursued it. -McPhee on Two Man Advantage Podcast
Obviously, McPhee and his staff had ideas of what they would like to do, but as few as 12 hours before the deadline, he wasn’t sure any of it was actually going to come to fruition.
We were trying to find a player that might make sense but when we listed the players Mark Stone was Plan A, if it made sense in terms of price and contract, and we thought if we don’t get Plan A we probably don’t do anything because this is when mistakes are made, at the trade deadline and on July 1st. This was Plan A and it actually worked out. -McPhee on Two Man Advantage Podcast
As the deadline approached though, Plan A ended up not being the only bargain that may have cropped up.