Call him Trader George.
Golden Knights general manager George McPhee has ruled the hockey world since Saturday when the NHL Expansion Draft rules went into effect.
The final total? Thirty-seven players taken, 30 in the actual expansion draft. The addition of nine draft picks in various rounds stretching into 2020 while giving up a couple of third- and fourth-round selections.
McPhee didn’t stick around long enough to admire his handiwork. He was out the door and off to the airport to catch a flight to Chicago to prepare for Friday’s NHL Entry Draft, where the Golden Knights have three of the first 15 selections in the first round.
In addition to their own pick (No. 6), the Knights have the No. 13 pick acquired from Winnipeg through a trade made with the Columbus Blue Jackets’ No. 1 pick at No. 24. They also have the New York Islanders’ pick at No. 15.
The Knights are also set up nicely for Saturday’s second day of the draft. They have multiple picks in rounds two (2), five (2) and six (2) and a total of nine.
McPhee will no doubt be deluged with calls the moment the trade moratorium ends at 5 a.m. Thursday as teams try to get back some of what he took.
When asked if there may be more deals for the three No. 1s, majority owner Bill Foley said: “I don’t think so. We’re holding on to them because after the first couple of players (Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier), there’s probably 15 players that are pretty close together and we should get three very good players Friday.”
Head coach Gerard Gallant loved the nucleus McPhee acquired.
“There’s a lot of skill to work with,” he said. “A lot of character too. Lots of good veterans and lots of good, young players.”
Obviously, not all 37 players the Knights acquired will be wearing those steel gray and black jerseys on Oct. 6 when the inaugural season opens in Dallas.
David Clarkson and Mikhail Grabovski, who were injured and didn’t play last year, will likely retire. Goaltender J.F. Berube, who was taken from the Islanders, may be on the move even though the team only selected three goalies. Others selected may be headed elsewhere. So there could be some movement in the next 24 hours.
Contact Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913. Follow @stevecarprj on Twitter.