For 72 hours, Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee is the most powerful man in hockey. Until Wednesday at 10 AM ET McPhee and his team, which consists of several former Capitals scouts and coaches, will pour over a list of available players for the expansion draft. They will try to sign top free agents. They will identify the best asset on each team they can select.
But McPhee, the ever so nice human that he is, took the time on Saturday to let all NHL teams know that he’d give each club the opportunity to keep a player.
“Vegas has indicated that they will give all 30 clubs every opportunity to keep their rosters intact if they’d like.”—VGK Organization
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) June 17, 2017
“The Golden Knights organization is very pleased with how the expansion draft process has gone so far, through the NHL trade freeze which took effect Saturday, June 17 at 12 noon PT,” the Golden Knights said in a satement. “Now, General Manager George McPhee and his staff will continue to have discussions with the other 30 NHL clubs.
“Vegas has indicated that they will give all 30 clubs every opportunity to keep their rosters intact if they’d like. This means that before the Golden Knights claim a player off a team’s unprotected list, McPhee and his staff are willing to negotiate deals so the other clubs do not lose a player they would otherwise like to keep.”
While that sounds kind and human, this is just a ploy for the Golden Knights to turn a player into an even bigger haul.
In March, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman wrote about McPhee’s plans.
“At the GM meetings, the Golden Knights’ George McPhee let everyone know that once the lists are handed to him, it’s an auction for any unprotected player another team might want,” Friedman wrote. “This has outstanding potential.”
Here’s an example. The Capitals have identified Nate Schmidt as one of their top four defensemen for next season. What happens if McPhee calls and tells the Capitals they are selecting the smiling Minnesotan because he or another NHL team wants him? To keep Nate on the team, the Capitals would have to trade a player or prospects that could turn out to be worth more than Schmidt or outbid another team’s offer to Vegas for the player. This game McPhee is trying to play turns a promising expansion draft pick into an impressive haul that could make the team more competitive sooner.
So for the next few days, McPhee will not only be identifying the best talent available, he’ll also be burning up the phone lines trying to turn teams’ desperation into an even bigger gain for him.
“Here we go, boys.” –George McPhee pic.twitter.com/LSjkI1AOzo
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) June 18, 2017
Headline photo: Chris Gordon
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