Golden Knights general manager George McPhee provided a little clarity Monday to Vadim Shipachyov’s status with the team and said there’s “no truth” to rumors the Russian wants to return to his home country.
McPhee confirmed that Shipachyov and his agent, Petr Svoboda, were disappointed the 30-year-old center did not start the season in the NHL, but the two sides have since worked out their differences regarding McPhee’s decision.
“They didn’t understand initially, but they do now, that this is a roster move and it’s not about performance,” McPhee said following practice at City National Arena. “The three guys we sent down (Shipachyov, Shea Theodore and Alex Tuch) have all earned the right to be here, and we’ll get them here at the right time, or as soon as we can.”
Shipachyov signed a two-year, $9 million contract as a free agent in May after helping SKA St. Petersburg to the KHL title.
He was reassigned to Chicago of the American Hockey League last week when the Knights had to submit their 23-man roster to the NHL.
The move allowed McPhee more time to evaluate his roster, but Shipachyov did not play in Chicago’s two games against Texas after reporting to the team. Rather, he flew back to Las Vegas to be with his wife and is working out on his own, McPhee said.
A report from KHL insider Aivis Kalnins surfaced early Monday that Shipachyov and his agent were looking for a way to get out of his deal with the Knights.
Summary of Vadim Shipachyov and his situation with the Golden Knights. pic.twitter.com/bp5uTgz4Qf
— Aivis Kalniņš (@A_Kalnins) October 9, 2017
Svoboda, who could not be reached for comment, later denied the report to TSN in Canada.
“There’s no truth to that,” McPhee said. “He’s not allowed to go back. He’s under contract to us.”
Shipachyov had one assist and four shots on goal in four preseason games with the Knights and appeared to have difficulty at times adjusting to the North American game.
Shipachyov was paired with Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault early in training camp and was the one line that remained together throughout. Shipachyov also received plenty of work on the top power-play unit.
“I’m guessing they tried to keep us together during the preseason just to try to get the chemistry going, but it’s obviously a weird scenario that’s going on right now,” Smith said. “…I don’t think a lot of people know really what’s going on or what’s going to happen, so just a lot of question marks around it.”
Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was named the NHL’s second star for the week ending Oct. 8, the league announced Monday.
Fleury made 45 saves in a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars in the season opener Oct. 6, and he stopped 27 of 28 shots the following night in a 2-1 overtime win over the Arizona Coyotes.
The NHL Centennial Fan Arena will be open at 2 p.m. Tuesday and from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday at T-Mobile Arena.
The attraction runs again at 4 p.m. Friday on Fremont Street, with the Stanley Cup displayed from 4-10:30 p.m., and at noon Saturday on Fremont Street (Stanley Cup from noon-4 p.m.).
McPhee said defenseman Clayton Stoner, who is on injured reserve, is suffering from a similar abdominal injury to the one that sideline for most of the 2016-17 season with Anaheim.
Vadim Shipachyov preseason stats
— Games: 4
— Goals: 0
— Assists: 1
— Points: 1
— Shots on goal: 4
— Penalty minutes: 4
— Plus/minus rating: Minus-2