With the regular season coming up fast, we have to wonder if Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee took the best approach to the expansion draft. The NHL’s newest team made many trades to not take certain players so they could load up on draft picks, and they ended up with a team heavy on defence.
Vegas currently has 11 defencemen on the roster, with only one of those (Shea Theodore) exempt from waivers. In a perfect world they’d trade some of this overflow for more picks, and McPhee addressed that during an interview on Hockey Central at Noon Tuesday.
“We’ll probably have to do something,” McPhee acknowledged. “I’ve just started returning calls to clubs yesterday that expressed some interest in obtaining a defenceman. I wanted to take some time, four games, to get to know them a little bit better.”
Of the 11 blue liners on the roster, five of them are set for UFA status next summer and another three will become RFAs. If they aren’t traded away, Jason Garrison, Brayden McNabb, Nate Schmidt and Theodore look like good bets for lineup spots, with the others still to be fought over.
That said, Garrison also seems like a decent trade candidate at this stage in his career.
Look at the lineup and cap breakdown and you realize a trade has to be coming to move someone out of Vegas and the GM admitted he’s interested in a swap.
“We’re starting to have those discussions,” McPhee said. “There’s interest in probably moving one defenceman at this point.”
The Golden Knights will host their first pre-season game at the T-Mobile Arena Tuesday night, where the newest collection of NHL fans will get a glimpse of their team. There are still a number of positional battles between teammates, which McPhee says has contributed to the team’s 3-1-0 record. The GM also noted there’s a buzz in the air for the new team.
“It’s a big deal here,” McPhee said of Tuesday night’s game. “We are sold out for tonight. And we’ll probably sell out the next two games. It’s a great example of the love affair Vegas has for our team right now.”