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McPhee Content With Team On July 1

Golden Knights avoided chasing free agents, confident in youth

by Gordon Weigers @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

The Vegas Golden Knights re-signed two players and added four others July 1 as free agency opened in the NHL.

Vegas inked Brandon Pirri to a two-year contract worth $1.5 million while Tomas Nosek signed a one-year deal for $1 million. The team also added four players who will add depth to the organization in Patrick Brown, Tyrell Goulbourne, Brett Lernout and Jaycob Megna.

Following the transactions, General Manager George McPhee addressed the media Monday afternoon at City National Arena.

Pirri's deal is the third he's signed with the Golden Knights and it's the first time he's signed a multi-year contract since joining the Vegas organization. He said he's proud of himself for earning a two-year deal and fighting for a spot on the team after his strong season in 2018-19.

"Not many guys that have been in the league and then sent down can claw their way out of it," Pirri said. "I stuck with it. Last year and the year before, there was a comfort level of being in Chicago, but now that things have calmed down with having a kid, that goal of playing in the NHL was never really wavered. It was just a more realistic expectation. Where now, my wife understands the business, it's the goal to play in the NHL and that's why we signed with Vegas."

For Nosek, being a key member of the team's run to the 2018 Stanley Cup Final left him wanting to capture the ultimate prize and he said this team is ready to get back to that level.

"One of the biggest things for me is to be on a team that has the biggest goals for the season," Nosek said. "I think we are a pretty good team and had a chance last season to make it to the finals, but it didn't work out. I hope we'll be great in the next season too. We have a pretty good team there and great chemistry in the locker room so it's pretty good to be around there."

VGK Insider Gary Lawless wrote in a recent column that the timing of Mark Stone's acquisition and subsequent extension saved the Golden Knights a lot of money that would have been spent on July 1.

"There haven't been surprises for us this summer," McPhee said. "This is way we were hoping for things to go."

While there were big-name free agents on the market who may have found Vegas to be an attractive destination, the Golden Knights weren't in a position with the salary cap to go sport fishing, nor did McPhee feel the need to.

"Ideally, you don't want to have to chase free agents," McPhee said. "You like to have your own guys fill in those holes in the lineup. It gives those young players or guys looking for a second chance hope when they come to camp that there's something there for them."

McPhee noted the holes left in Vegas' lineup after several free agents who played for the Golden Knights last season signed deals with other teams. He said he expects younger players already in the team's system to challenge for roster spots when training camp opens in September.

"I really like where we are as a team right now," McPhee said. "We have a solid team; we know who's going to be here for a while and we have a pipeline that's producing players that will start showing up here now."

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