The Vegas Golden Knights are the talk of the NHL right now, authoring one of the best storylines imaginable. You know the narrative already: Expansion franchise dominates swiftly during first year in league.
However, the way general manager George McPhee is operating, you wouldn’t think that was the case. After all, he barely checks the standings.
“Not very often,” McPhee said Thursday during Hockey Central at Noon on Sportsnet 590 The FAN.
The Golden Knights entered Thursday on an eight-game winning streak and sit first in the Pacific Division with 56 points. Only three teams have scored more than Vegas this season and the club has been among the stingiest in the league at allowing goals.
However, McPhee, former Washington Capitals GM, remembers an instance a few years back when the New York Rangers were in first place in January, yet didn’t even make the playoffs.
“You take nothing for granted in this business. We’re going day to day here,” he told hosts Daren Millard, Doug MacLean and Nick Kypreos. “We just did the best we could in trying to put a team together. [Head coach] Gerard Gallant has done one heck of a job with it and we wake up every day just trying to figure out how to win the next game and keep the fingers crossed and hope for some good fortune.”
As for whether the club will be active before the Feb. 26 trade deadline, McPhee says the club is in wait-and-see mode.
“The plan going into this year was pretty simple: If we’re in the hunt, we’re going to try and stay in the hunt, if you’re not in the hunt, you do what teams that are not in the hunt do at the trading deadline. We’ll see where we are when we get there. And what happens between now and then will be determined as we go along.
“We wanted to be competitive this year,” he added. “We thought it was really important to the league. We thought it was important to the market — we wanted to give the market a chance. Can we be competitive and see how people respond here? Well it has been pretty darn good here and you don’t ever want to lose that. We’re trying to set a standard.”
McPhee also discussed forward Jonathan Marchessault, who Vegas recently signed to an extension, and William Karlsson as a Selke Trophy candidate. Listen to the full interview in the audio player below.