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Free Agency Looms For McPhee And Golden Knights

Free agency begins on July 1

by Gary Lawless @GoldenKnights /

Having money in your pocket isn't a reason to spend it. And George McPhee isn't an impulse buyer. He's a planner and a thinker. Don't expect a splash on Saturday from the Vegas Golden Knights.

Free agency is for finishing pieces and McPhee is a few years from such needs.

The expansion draft produced a mix of capable veterans like Cody Eakin, James Neal and Marc-Andre Fleury as well as talented players entering their prime such as Shea Theodore, Nate Schmidt, Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith.

McPhee has much less need for placeholders than expected. He won't be forced to spend cap money into the future on questionable contracts just to ice a team.

July 1 is the day when most GMs make their biggest mistakes. They overpay in term and price. Sometimes it's a necessity for a GM who thinks his team is on the precipice of contending. He needs a D who can run the power play or a goalie to get his team over the top. There's competition for the player and the agent uses this leverage to get term and dollars which don't accurately match the value of the player. McPhee can take a pass. Why clog the organization with expensive veterans that will get in the way of the youth which is going to make up the core down the road?

Video: George McPhee reviews the Golden Knights' roster


It would be money ill spent. The younger Vegas can stay the better. McPhee's draft picks are going to drive this team and make it a contender. He needs room for them in terms of cap and opportunity.

Chasing free agents at this period to provide short term wins is counterproductive. It's an expensive cover-up which could potentially block real and lasting success.

Draft and develop isn't sexy and it requires time and patience. But it's the proven way to success in today's NHL.

Certainly Golden Knights management wants to win and be competitive this season and coach Gerard Gallant has some pieces to with which to work. He's going to have to squeeze a lot from some players and get his group to over-achieve a bit. The good news is that's his reputation. Players work hard for him and they buy into the team concept he promotes.

McPhee is going to add good players along the way but far more likely they are draftees rather than free agents.

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