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.
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?
What George has told me is that if he can improve the team that he will do that. Otherwise, he’s going to stay the course. There are a lot of teams that would like to grab a couple of our guys, but we’ve got a team that’s really gelling and I’d sure like to see our team with Flower back in goal. I’d say we do not “raise” at this time. We stay the course. -The Creator
And just like everyone else who have watched the Golden Knights over the first two months of their existence, his mindset has changed.
I’m keeping my expectations in line, but every time we win, my expectations do get a little bit higher… If anything my schedule for playoffs and for Stanley cup has moved forward, not backward. Forward. -The Creator
The elephant in the room is a lot more like a fan than he is a general manager. He sees how contagious winning can be and he’s not ready to purposely manufacture its end. The Creator is determined to be a model owner in sports. He’ll support his team in every way possible, but he’s also a powerful businessman who “wins at everything,” so when he believes he’s right, he’s always right.
What we are doing now is part of my culture and I intend to do everything I can to make this team better. In terms of financial support, in terms of learning about the game so I can help George, Kelly, and Gerard, I’m going to do everything in my power to make this team better next year and better the year after. -The Creator
McPhee has some tough decisions coming up over the next three months. What is the right return for guys like James Neal, David Perron, and Luca Sbisa? What’s the price to keep Jonathan Marchessault? How many of the RFAs deserve to be paid now? What’s the actual value of making the playoffs?
It’s not going to be easy equally pulling every string the puppetmaster must pull. Especially when the most important string already has it in his mind where the 2017-18 Golden Knights are headed.
Are the Golden Knights going to stay in a playoff spot? -Dave Goucher
Oh we’re in! -The Creator