LAS VEGAS – Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee has informed the other NHL general managers that Monday is the last day he will negotiate with teams looking to protect players eligible to be drafted in the expansion draft.
“The last 24 hours have been similar to the last 3-4 days in that we are having discussions with clubs about what they want to do and how they can protect their rosters if they want to do that,” McPhee said. “What we’ve told everyone today is that today will be the last day we’re going to have those discussions. We are going to pick our team tomorrow. We want to have a discussion with the league tomorrow night about what our team is going to look like and make sure we meet all the requirements and if everything is OK, I’ll sleep on it and send it in Wednesday morning. But today is the last day for discussions.”
McPhee said he has not completed any trades with teams looking to protect players but he is currently talking to several teams. He has set a midnight ET deadline for Monday to complete any deals.
“We have things lined up,” McPhee said. “But nothing is final until everything is final.”
Teams aren’t just calling McPhee to negotiate a deal for them to pass on players they were forced to leave unprotected for the expansion draft but teams are also calling McPhee to inquire about trading for a an opposing player that was left unprotected.
“There have been a lot of inquiries about players on other teams,” McPhee said. “All the GMs have looked at the list and they see players on the other teams and have asked us what it would take for you to claim that player for us. Our response is we’re either going to claim that player for us and keep him or the value you give to us has to be better than something else we could have claimed from that team.”
With all the wheeling and dealing McPhee will be doing this week, it might be smart for Vegas Golden Knights fans to wait a few weeks before purchasing a jersey of their favorite new player.
“Will there be some players that are announced on Wednesday that aren’t with us in a couple weeks?” McPhee said. “Maybe.”
The discussions taking place over the next 24 hours in the Golden Knights offices, located 15 miles north of the Las Vegas Strip, center on building a competitive team for this upcoming season while also factoring the long-term benefits of the trade offers, with many of those including draft picks and prospects.
“The balance is whatever feels right for our team,” McPhee said. “We just had that discussion 30 minutes ago on one particular transaction that may happen where there’s a player that would be really good for our team and another offer has come in on that player that is really a nice healthy offer that we also like but what’s best for our team? And what’s best for our team is keeping the player so that’s how we measure things.”
McPhee’s Monday night deadline is to get everything in order with the other 30 teams in the league before he sits down with his team and drafts the first incarnation of the Vegas Golden Knights Tuesday, which he expects to take up most of the day. He will then submit the final selections to the league Wednesday morning.
“This is a complicated process,” McPhee said. “One of the reasons we want to complete the dialogue today and pick our team tomorrow is it’s going to take us a while to pick our team tomorrow. One change in this matrix affects everything with your cap now and your cap going forward. You can’t get too cute and try to complicate it too much and we’re being real direct with players. When we call general managers back, we’re basically saying, ‘Do you want to hear what’s going on with your team or are you just content to sit and we’re going to do what we want to do?’ Most of them want to talk about it and then we tell them exactly what’s going on and if they want to do something about it or not.”