George McPhee said Sunday he was on the clock. On Monday, he let the NHL's other 30 GMs know they were as well.
McPhee told the media in Vegas he has informed his NHL peers that Monday would be the last day he was going to negotiate regarding players on expansion draft unprotected lists.
"What we've told everyone today is that today will be the last day that we are going to have those discussions, that we are going to pick our team (Tuesday)," said the Vegas Golden Knights GM. "We want to have a discussion with the league (Tuesday) night about what our team is going to look like to make sure we meet all of the requirements, and then if everything's okay, I'll sleep on it and then just send it in Wednesday morning. But, today is the last day for those discussions."
McPhee has told NHL GMs they can "negotiate their way out of this," meaning he is willing to have discussions which could lead to teams keeping their cores intact.
Video: George McPhee discusses the Expansion Draft lists
"We're not going to claim a player from a club until we've talked to that club," McPhee has stated.
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The threshold for those deals, however, comes down to what is best for Vegas says McPhee.
"We have things lined up, but nothing is final until everything is final," said McPhee. "The balance is whatever feels right for our team and we just had that discussion 30 minutes ago on one particular transaction that may happen where there's a player there that we think would be really good for our team, another offer has come in on that player that is really a nice, healthy offer that we also like, but what's best for our team? What's best for our team is keeping the player. So, that's essentially how we measure things."
McPhee also has the option to sign pending UFAs from the unprotected lists. He was asked why he would do that rather selecting a player from a team's unprotected list and simply said, "Well, because the free agent is better than anything we could pick from that team. That's why we'd sign them."
While McPhee is in control of the board right now - he admitted he can't try and spend too much time trying to leverage one team against another.
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There's too much to do on his own end at this point to try and force a byzantine market for players on other teams' rosters.
Video: George McPhee receiving other teams' protected lists
"As you can imagine, and one of the reasons we want to finish the dialogue today and pick our team (Tuesday), is it's going to take us awhile to pick the team tomorrow," he said. "Because one change in this matrix affects everything with your cap now, with your cap going forward, with the cap that you have done for this expansion draft, with the cap that you need for the regular season, tagging room and everything else, is a player under contract, not under contract, does he fit one of the positional requirements. So, that's why you can't get too cute and try to complicate it too much. We're just being real direct with people and when we call managers back, we're basically saying 'Do you want to hear what's going on with your team or are you just content to sit and we're going to do what we're going to do?' And most of them want to talk about it and then we tell them exactly what's going on, and is there something you want to do about it or not? And so, that's the way we're doing this because it is a very complicated process."
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McPhee was relaxed and said he was enjoying the moment despite being under an obvious time crunch and with a lot on the line. The group he has assembled has been structured and disciplined its preparation for this moment. Vegas has laid out steps and designated time for each chunk of the process. They are moving forward and approaching their goals.
"And at this point, we're trying to block out with each team, do we know exactly what we're doing with that team? Is anything else going to affect that? And if it's not, then we are boxing that player out as the guy we're going to pick," he said.