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.
VGK was deep into Erik Karlsson trade talks up to the final minutes before the deadline and when it became clear it wasn’t going to get done, VGK traded with DET for Tomas Tatar.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 26, 2018
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.
We went into the deadline wanting to improve our team and we did that. We had surplus picks and a lot of cap space and we used them to do these deals. We still have surplus picks and surplus cap space. -McPhee
The picks that we gave up are spread out over four drafts so we have lots of picks and to spread them out over four drafts was not a problem for us. -McPhee
Tatar doesn’t quite have the power numbers that Neal does but to this point in his career he’s not far behind. Through 407 games, the Czech has 115 goals and 107 assists. After Neal’s first 413 games he scored 161 goals and 154 assists. Breaking it down even further, the comparison gets closer. Neal averages .38 goals per game in his career, Tartar has averaged .28 goals per game.
(Tatar)’s a younger player, he’s only 27. He’s quick, he’s competitive, and he can score. -McPhee
The challenge for Vegas is the need to grow and win at the same time. With his skill, cost, and term the Tatar trade allows for both. The newest Golden Knight makes $5.3 million AAV for the next three seasons. Neal will be offered much more to play somewhere else. Also, keep in mind David Perron would like to get paid as well.
Yep, McPhee had the future in mind when he traded for Tatar.
Tater Time is a solid trade and fits with our youth and speed mantra! The Reaves trade on the other hand I don’t like but perhaps time will prove me wrong, but for now he cost us 4 points in two nights.
I feel exactly the same. Unnecessary penalties and cheap shots at terrible times.
Actually, 3 points. But I agree with everything else you said!
Michael V. Smith
Again Reaves did NOT cost us those points. Last night’s team play was terrible, you can’t blame a single player. Jeez. We are playing a different team than earlier in the year. Carter back. Phanuef added. A playoff experienced team in pleyoff mode. Season only get harder. I hope we can contend for the Cup. Are we a Cup finalist? That is yet to be proved, but don’t take it for granted. What do you realistically expect in a first year?
Tatar looked like he might have some chemistry with Eakin. It will be interesting to see if Tuch will have the same chemistry when he joins the line. I would like to see a fourth line with: Carpenter-Belly-Hyka. Carpenter has shown some chemistry with both of them it would be a matter of if all 3 would working out. If it worked out they could be a very lethal 4th line that would cause a lot of problems for teams. For everyone that is going to say they would not be a physical enough 4th line, goals win games not hits. Just ask every team that played the Pens the last 2 years in the playoffs.
The line of Hyka-Eakin-Tatar was the most productive line of the night. The seemed to do everything in 2 periods but score. They had the benefit of some extremely cushy zone starts (it was something like 90% offensive zone starts) which makes sense since you are playing 3 guys together for the first time, including Tatar’s first game and Hyka’s second or third. They maintained possession of 78, 77, and an 87 Corsi for Tatar. If you can get those numbers from 3rd line, you will win games in April and May. However, getting those starts came at the detriment of the top line that was back at 44%, down from the high to mid 50s they are usually at. 19-71-81 finished at 37, 44, and 31. Marchessault was under 30 heading into the 3rd. The top scoring line needs to be put into the best position to score. This could just be out of necessity, and hopefully when P.E.B. gets back, his line can take on those tough defensive zone assignments and free up everyone else. The 4th line actually was decent last night in the possession stats. That is all I will say about that line, because it makes me mad thinking about everything else.
I agree with you, hits don’t win games and the more you possess the puck, the better the chance of scoring. You mentioned the Pens the last two years, that is also how Chicago got their 3 in 6. You can go back to Detroit in 2008. I’ll take possession and speed.
I’m not 100% convinced Neal and Perron aren’t coming back. This team’s cap situation is incredibly favorable and they can afford to sign Perron, Neal, and Karlsson to deals (perhaps not with term on all three).
The Tatar move however means that the team is covered in any event, we can afford to let one or both of Perron and Neal go to free agency. Tatar and Tuch are both second line quality. If we sign them both, then we have a top 9 that is among the best in the league.
I’m hoping we get to keep both Perron and Neal, but I also know a 5×10 deal for a 30 year old will tie an anchor around the club (see Bobby Ryan).
I agree with Michael. The Kings had the look of a champ last night, and were relentless. They played very similar to when they won 4 straight to bury my Sharks before hoisting the cup. The Knights were out-coached for a game. Monday was totally different, and the Knights were unlucky. Let’s get the injured guys back and reset the lines. Reaves can be used in spots when necessary. Kings were smart not dropping the gloves with him. It was the key to them grabbing 4 points. Hopefully the boys move on, and get back in gear. The Kings provided a taste of what the playoffs will be like. Also, Hunt and Shea T. are pretty darn good getting out of the zone, and last night that area was terrible. Mr. Clifford…we’ll catch you on the flip side.
I was afraid there would be some Growing Pains due to three reasons.
2) New players on the roster
3) Los Angeles Kings
The Kings because of they’re heavy defensive work and Quick between the pipes. They are probably the one team I would least like to see in a first-round playoff series. AND also the one team I would not like to see when the roster is an upheaval because of injuries and turnover. Thank God the Ottawa Senators are next on the schedule. I’m hoping they are going to be a chance to get things right and possibly build some momentum.
As far as Neal and Peron I think there still is good chance that one or both of them can stay around despite Tatar now on the roster. Still lots of cap room with more coming when next year’s cap limit is announced so we shall see.