Golden Knights GM McPhee shouldn’t alter original plans

Updated June 8, 2018 - 11:14 pm

George McPhee doesn’t strike me as one who overreacts to the moment, who is at the mercy of his emotions when tough business decisions need to be made.

I’m not sure this is the guy with a second to spare for millennials who think the world owes them something.

But he sure seems the guy to build a consistent NHL winner.

When your season stretches into the first week of June, when an expansion team you constructed loses in a Stanley Cup Final to an opponent you, well, constructed, there isn’t an extended period of time for a general manager to wallow in sadness.

It was clean-out day for the Golden Knights on Friday, the morning after Washington completed its mastery of Vegas by winning the best-of-seven final series in five games.

“Excuses are for losers,” said McPhee, who spent 17 years as the Capitals GM and is responsible for a major part of the championship roster. “(Washington) played better. They beat us four times. They deserved to win.”

It means that while Vegas players now embrace a summer break nine months in the making — send in the clowns, is right, for the buffoonery of whoever thought a parade should be held for a team that lost — McPhee and his staff go about trying to maintain and perhaps even improve the level of improbable success the Knights produced.

He shouldn’t steer an inch from the original course.

The only thing that has changed since the season began — a big deal, for sure — is that McPhee obviously did such a good job with the expansion draft and taking advantage of its rules and compiling draft picks via trades in and around it, Vegas should never have to endure the constant losing usually attached to a first-year team.

It never should experience a true expansion season.

But all the winning and advancing through the playoffs shouldn’t alter McPhee’s mantra about building through the draft and developing your own players.

You saw such a team win the Cup on Thursday night.

It doesn’t mean he won’t or shouldn’t explore certain high-profile names either through free agency or trade — the Knights could have as much as $31 million in cap space — but foolish is the team that tries too hard to win now for the sake of its future.

There is also this: More than anything, chemistry discovered within a roster of players not wanted by their previous teams helped shape the historic Vegas season.

The room mattered more than perhaps any in the NHL.

“During our player exit interviews, that’s the theme,” McPhee said. “There is no hierarchy, no entitlement, just a bunch of guys who show up and work hard.

“The reality is, we live in a salary cap world. On this team, not everyone will be back. We’ll do our best to keep this team together, but there are always three or four changes.”

Decisions looming

James Neal is an unrestricted free agent. So are David Perron and Luca Sbisa and Ryan Reaves.

Who stays?

Who goes?

Are they all gone?

William Karlsson is a restricted free agent. So is Shea Theodore and others. Arbitration looms for some.

Already, folks have linked the Knights to such high-priced free agents as center John Tavares of the Islanders and defenseman John Carlson of the Capitals.

Will the Knights make another run, as they reportedly did at the trade deadline, to acquire star defenseman Erik Karlsson of Ottawa?

How much will such decisions be based on how close — a season, two? — McPhee believes young organizational talent like Cody Glass and Nick Suzuki and Nicolas Hague and Erik Brannstrom are to playing in the NHL?

Know this: Vegas could have a more talented roster next season and not come close to making a Stanley Cup Final. It might never make one again.

It could be better and miss the playoffs entirely in 2018-19. That’s how much parity exists within the league. That’s how uncertain things are season to season. Nobody knows anything.

But this is also true: McPhee has the Knights set up to win and contend for the foreseeable future, and that’s all a fan base can really hope for.

Nothing and everything has changed, but how he maintains things shouldn’t.

Stay the course.

Draft and develop and sprinkle in some of those stars if you must.

Just leave the one-hit wonders to pop music bands.

Contact columnist Ed Graney at or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

Golden Knights Videos
Golden Knights Outshine Stars 4-2
The Golden Knights take down the Dallas Stars for their 8th win in their last 10 games. David Schoen discusses the victory.
Golden Knights prepare for road trip after 4-2 win over Stars
Vegas Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant and team players talk about carrying the momentum off their 4-2 win over the Dallas Stars into their 4-game road trip.
Golden Knights Suffer Heavy Loss To Kings - Golden Edge
Vegas Golden Knights lose to the Los Angeles Kings 5-1. Review-Journal sports writer Adam Hill goes over the Knights loss.
Golden Knights Head Coach Gerard Gallant On Loss To Kings
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks to media about the Knights 5-1 loss to the Kings.
Golden Knights on their 4-3 victory over the Blackhawks
Players from the Vegas Golden Knights reflect on their third period surge and what else led them to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Deryk Engelland at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas was a new experience for Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland on Wednesday night. He said he was looking forward to spending time with family and going for a skate, as well as lighting the Christmas tree for fans.
Golden Edge: Ryan Reaves will face no further penalty for hit
The Golden Knights' Ryan Reaves will not be suspended following a hit on the Washington Capitals' Tom Wilson on Tuesday night. David Schoen and Adam Hill report from team practice at City National Arena.
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Golden Knights Avenge Final Loss, Top Caps 5-3 - Golden Edge
The Golden Knights rally to defeat the Washington Capitals in a rematch of last year's Stanley Cup Final. David Schoen and Adam Hill discuss the win and Ryan Reaves big hit on Tom Wilson.
Golden Knights, Schmidt on their emotional win over the Capitals
The Vegas Golden Knights talk about their emotional victory and playing physical against their 2018 Stanley Cup opponent, the Washington Capitals.
Golden Knights head coach happy with team's effort in win over Capitals
Vegas Golden Knights' head coach Gerard Gallant says he was happy with the team's effort in their 5-3 win against the Washington Capitals, the 2018 Stanley Cup winners.
Golden Knights License Plate Sales
Twenty-Five year Las Vegas resident, Bernard Turner, loves the Golden Knights and couldn’t wait to get the team-inspired specialty license plate on his new vehicle. Over 11,000 of the plates have been ordered since becoming available in October, according to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Fall to Oilers 2-1
The Golden Knights come up short in Edmonton against the Oilers. David Schoen discusses the game.
Alex Tuch on Golden Knights' 2nd line
Alex Tuch talks about the chemistry between players on the Golden Knights' second line. (David Schone/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights Win Five Games Straight, Beat Canucks 4-3
Golden Knights win five games straight after beating the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen goes over the Knights win.
Gerard Gallant on Marc-Andre Fleury
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant talks about Marc-Andre Fleury af the Knights win in Vancouver. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Reaves faceoffs 3
Reaves faceoffs 2
Reaves faceoffs 1
Gallant pre Vancouver
Golden Edge: Knights Have Strong Game Against Chicago
Golden Knights get strong win over the Chicago Blackhawks with an 8-3 victory. Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen breaks down the knights fourth straight victory in a row.
Golden Edge Mailbag
Ben Gotz and Adam Hill answer all your burning Vegas Golden Knights questions and comments
Golden Edge: Golden Knights defeat Sharks 6-0 for 2nd straight shutout
William Karlsson scored the fastest goal in franchise history, and the Knights finally looked like the team that advanced to last year’s Stanley Cup Final with a 6-0 shellacking of first-place San Jose. Adam Hill and Dave Schoen report from T-Mobile Arena.
William Carrier Talks About the Knight's Win
Golden Knight's forward William Carrier scored his fourth goal of the season to help the team beat San Jose 6-0.
Marc-Andre Fleury Speaks After Shutout
Golden Knight's goalie Marc-Andre Fleury puts up his second shutout in back to back games. The Knights defeated the Sharks 6-0.
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Shut out Calgary
Golden Knights shutout the Calgary Flames 2-0 after coming home from their three game road trip. Adam Hill and David Schoen recap the Knights victory over the Flames at T-Mobile Arena.
Gerard Gallant says team's play is improving after win over Flames
Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant discusses the team's play and credits Marc-Andre Fleury's performance in their 2-0 shutout win against the Calgary Flames.
Golden Knights talk about their 2-0 win over the Flames
Vegas Golden Knights Nate Schmidt, Colin Miller, Marc-Andre Fleury and Alex Tuch discuss the team's 2-0 win over the Calgary Flames.
James Neal Talks About Being Back In Vegas
Former Golden Knights forward James Neal talks to media about playing his former team in Las Vegas.
Golden Edge: Pacioretty and Knights Come Away with Two
Max Pacioretty scored his second goal of the night in overtime to defeat the Arizona Coyotes as the team takes two points. They got 3 of 4 points overall on this road trip putting them at 21 for the season. Adam Hill reports from Arizona.
Coach Gallant Talks with Media After Win
The Golden Knights defeated the Arizona Coyotes in overtime with a Max Pacioretty game-winner. Coach Gerard Gallant speaks on the teams performance.
Max Pacioretty Talks After Scoring Game Winner
Golden Knights left wing Max Pacioretty scores in overtime to defeat the Coyotes.
Golden Edge: Knights In Flames After Loss To Calgary
Golden Knights fall to 7-2 to the Calgary Flames. Review-Journal sports writer Adam Hill and columnist Ed Graney go over the Knights loss before heading to Arizona to play against the Coyotes.
Golden Knights Forward Reilly Smith On 7-2 Loss
Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith talks to media about loss to the Calgary Flames.
Golden Knights Head Coach Gerard Gallant On Loss To Calgary
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks to the media after their 7-2 loss against Calgary.
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Have Stellar Second Period Against Oilers
Golden Knights have stellar second period against the Edmonton Oilers on the road. Review-Journal sports writers Adam Hill and columnist Ed Graney break down the Knights 6-3 win over the Oilers.
Golden Knights Assistant Coach On Win In Edmonton
Golden Knights Defenseman Nate Schmidt On Win Against Oilers
Gallant on Toronto loss
Gallant on Pacioretty
Gallant on how season has gone
Pacioretty on possible return
Gallant and Marchessault on Perron
Coach Gerard Gallant and Golden Knights Jonathan Marchessault comment on former Knights player David Perron (Dave Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Coach Gerard Gallant on former Knights player David Perron
Coach Gerard Gallant on former Knights player David Perron (Dave Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marchessault on Perron
VGS themed games from AGS at G2E Global Gaming Expo
A Golden Knights-themed slot machine was on display Tuesday at the G2E Global Gaming Expo as AGS showed two products that came out of a 3-year contract with the Knights. A video roulette game featuring a Knights helmet and an enormous slot machine were on the floor along with Knights cheerleaders, the Drumbots and Chance, the Knights' mascot. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights talk after practice
Marc-Andre Fleury, Max Pacioretty and Cody Eakin in the locker room on Wed. October 3, 2018.
Vegas Golden Knights show support at blood drive
Members of the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team showed up for a community blood drive on the first anniversary of the Las Vegas shooting, Oct. 1, 2018. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like