That first Golden Knights player transaction probably will have to wait until March.
Team owner Bill Foley has said he hoped to complete the franchise paperwork by Feb. 28, allowing the team to participate in deals at the NHL trade deadline March 1. But Foley said Tuesday that’s unlikely because of the volume of documents, along with the payment of the final installment of the team’s $500 million expansion fee before the Knights can officially participate as the league’s 31st member.
“We’ve been shooting for the 28th,” Foley said. “Originally the final payment wasn’t due until April 5. But then we moved it up to early March so (general manager) George (McPhee) can attend the general manager meetings in Florida the first week of March. Now we’re trying to move it up even earlier to be involved in the trade deadline, and I’m not sure we’re going to be able to make it.
“The money’s not the problem. We have the money. It’s signing off on everything, and I don’t know if we’re going to make it or not. There’s a stack of documents I have to sign to get this done that is unbelievable.”
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said expansion has its own set of issues.
“Closing a complex transaction like this one is like closing on the purchase of a house — although with far more layers of complication and documentation,” Daly said Wednesday by email. “It’s not about the transfer of money, it’s about closing the transaction.”
Foley and Daly downplayed the importance of the trade deadline, and Foley stressed it’s more critical to the franchise that McPhee attend the general manager meetings March 6 to 8 in Boca Raton.
“George has had informal conversations with several teams, but I don’t think George is not going to be too anxious to do a transaction and give up our flexibility in selecting players,” Foley said. “It’s going to have to be an improvement over what we otherwise would have.
“But we want him at the GM meetings because that’s where policy changes get made, and we want a seat at the table when that happens.”
Daly said: “The trade deadline is virtually irrelevant to the Vegas franchise at this point because they won’t be able to make trades involving real players under contract. They have no player assets to offer, and they can’t acquire any in the form of real players. So every trade and transaction Las Vegas would be able to make before the trade deadline, they will be able to make after the trade deadline.”
Contact Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913. Follow @stevecarprj on Twitter.