Photo: Chris Gordon
ESPN’s Scott Burnside has learned that former Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee will be announced as the first GM of the NHL’s new Las Vegas franchise on Wednesday. McPhee, who has been working as a special assistant to New York Islanders’ GM Garth Snow for the last 10 months, spent 17 years in Washington. In 1998, McPhee took the Caps franchise to its first and only Stanley Cup Final appearance.
According to Burnside, McPhee’s experience put him over the top. Las Vegas owner Bill Foley, along with adviser/former NHL player Murray Craven, interviewed as many as seven candidates.
Prior to the expansion announcement, Foley had said in an interview that hiring the right GM was a crucial step to building a team that can be competitive early in the process. Although there were a number of current assistant general managers or top player personnel executives considered for the job, McPhee’s experience was a key factor in his earning the post, those close to the process said.
Among those also considered for the post were associate Pittsburgh GM Jason Botterill, assistant Tampa GM Julien BriseBois, and Paul Fenton, who holds a similar position in Nashville. The team also asked for permission to speak to former Florida GM Dale Tallon, who recently moved into a more senior position with the Panthers, but it’s believed the two sides did not speak about the job.
Per a press release from the still unnamed team, Foley will announce the hire during a press conference at T-Mobile Arena Wednesday at 1 PM PT.
McPhee’s first duty will be to build a scouting staff from scratch and hire the franchise’s first coach. McPhee will also oversee all selections by Las Vegas during the NHL Expansion Draft, which will take place June 18 through June 20.
While with Washington, McPhee built a perennial winner after rebooting the team in 2003-04. McPhee was behind the drafts where Washington selected future NHL stars Alex Ovechkin, Braden Holtby, John Carlson, Andre Burakovsky, and Evgeny Kuznetsov. McPhee’s Caps won seven Southeast Division championships and one Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL’s top regular-season team in 2009-10.
Let’s just not talk about that deal where he traded for he who shall not be named.
The Las Vegas team was announced as the NHL’s 31st franchise in June. The team will first take the ice during the 2017-18 season.
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