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.