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McPhee Balances Search For Players, Draft Picks

The Golden Knights GM wants to build a competitive team while stocking up on draft picks

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights /

Since our team was born last summer, there's been consistent chatter about the Expansion Draft.

For the Golden Knights, however, it may be the Entry Draft, more than the Expansion Draft, which dictates how quickly Vegas can become a contender.

The reason the Entry Draft has become even more integral to team success in recent years is the quickness in which teenagers are developing into franchise cornerstones, and the consistency in which these young stars have signed long-term contracts to remain in the same city.

Just this season alone, the league's top eight point scorers were playing for the team that drafted them, while for every Stanley Cup-winner since 2007, their leading scorer has been a homegrown talent.

With many other statistics and examples that back up the thinking that the Entry Draft can yield far more impact players - if even not immediate impact players - than the Expansion Draft, George McPhee has not subtly suggested that he'd be willing to accept draft picks in exchange for taking or not taking players in the Expansion Draft.

Video: George McPhee receiving other teams' protected lists


"We're doing what's best for this hockey club and we think we can accomplish two things," McPhee said. "We can put a good team on the ice and accumulate draft picks and be in a surplus situation here in the next couple of years so that we can start with a real good team and then build it with these draft picks to a team that can win a Cup."

RELATED: Full list of players available to Vegas

 McPhee's comments on Sunday morning came one day after the Golden Knights released the following statement:

 "The Golden Knights organization is very pleased with how the expansion draft process has gone so far, through the NHL trade freeze which took effect Saturday, June 17 at 12 noon PT. Now, General Manager George McPhee and his staff will continue to have discussions with the other 30 NHL clubs. Vegas has indicated that they will give all 30 clubs every opportunity to keep their rosters intact if they'd like. This means that before the Golden Knights claim a player off a team's unprotected list, McPhee and his staff are willing to negotiate deals so the other clubs do not lose a player they would otherwise like to keep."

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