Since the Expansion Draft the Golden Knights have run the gamut as to how, when, and why they’ve inked deals with players. UFAs, RFAs, in-season extensions, offseason extensions, qualifying offers, arbitration hearings, holdouts, you name the situation, the Golden Knights have probably signed a player in it.
That being said, George McPhee has managed to keep a level of consistency with his contracts. McPhee’s way of putting it was, “there’s no hocus-pocus,” and if you dive deeper into his contracts, he’s right. From Fleury to Pacioretty to Stastny to Marchessault to Theodore, they are all pretty much structured the same, and that is something the GM thinks will help his team win.
As long as you’re consistent then the players you have coming up next for deals will buy in to what’s been done because they know they are not going to get special treatment and people that signed after them aren’t going to get special treatment. It’s a pretty consistent thing that we have done with our group to make it fair. The salary will distinguish some players from others because their talent levels are different, but in terms of how the contracts are done everybody pretty much gets the same. -George McPhee
It’s about a mentality in the locker room. There isn’t a hierarchy because the organization truly doesn’t give “special treatment” to any player. The team does what is best for the team and in doing it they treat every player equally. Something other teams say, but the Golden Knights have proven to actually do.
I think when it was laid out and explained to the player on why we were doing that, I think again it helps us manage the cap better and if we are doing that better, I think are chances of winning are better. So, he bought in. -McPhee
This was a comment about Shea Theodore, but it could easily be applied to Jonathan Marchessault, Marc-Andre Fleury, Max Pacioretty, Brayden McNabb, Colin Miller, and pretty much every other player who has re-signed with the Golden Knights over the past year. McPhee has a plan and he will abide by it, for the betterment of the entire organization, including the players in it. He’s proven he’s not afraid to go down any path to ensure it too. Just ask Nate Schmidt, William Karlsson, and now Shea Theodore.
It’s about setting a precedent, and it’s something this organization has done unbelievably well considering the short amount of time they’ve actually had players. It’s been 432 days since the Expansion Draft and when in a week the Golden Knights went from three (Shipachyov, Duke, and Hyka) to more than 40 players on the roster. Yet in that short period of time, the Golden Knights front office has a clear method of operation and it’s clearly on display for everyone to see.
I think when you explain what we’re trying to accomplish, why, and how we think it helps us build a better team (guys will buy in). -McPhee
And thus far, they seemingly have. Not only do the Golden Knights have an excellent, potentially Cup contending team, on the ice, but they have one of the cleanest salary caps in the league. Aside from David Clarkson, who they willingly took on to acquire a 1st round draft pick, there is not an albatross contract, there are not players the team is looking to get rid of, and not once has money held up anything the front office wants to get done.
Less than one year ago today, the Golden Knights had not played a single game and thus had no identity. One year later, the same cannot be said, and the identity that’s been established is about as perfect as any NHL team could ever wish for. That may be as impressive a feat as anything the Golden Knights achieved on the ice.
Which is crazy, but true.