It was an eventful holiday season for the Golden Knights' hockey operations staff the past few weeks.
With seven members of the staff, including general manager George McPhee, having been dispersed between Montreal and Toronto to scout the World Junior Championships, it was a milestone for a staff attending a large hockey event together for the first time.
This occurred while the staff has continued putting the final touches on an AHL affiliation agreement, while conducting final interviews for medical staff positions.
As recently as mid-December, McPhee said that he hoped to make final decisions on both just after the New Year.
"We are negotiating with a couple of groups, with respect to the American League," McPhee said. "We'll see where that goes, especially in the next few weeks.
RELATED: Get tickets to see the Golden Knights
"And our medical staff. We've done a lot of interviewing. We have another probably week or two of interviews to do before we start hiring."
With the World Juniors having ended with a U.S. championship on January 5, it opens up more time for McPhee to put the finishing touches on both of these projects.
RELATED: Golden Knights nearing completion of preseason schedule
The conclusion of the World Juniors also sets the stage for Vegas' next round of scouting meetings and mock drafts. Where most NHL scouting staffs stage full staff meetings a couple of times a year, the Golden Knights hockey operations department is scheduling routine staff get-togethers throughout the winter.
"We'll have amateur meetings next week for 3-4 days, and then we'll have pro meetings at the end of the month," McPhee said. "The amateur meetings, we're discussing all of the players that have been watched, to date. We'll start ranking some of them.
"With the pro meetings, we'll do another exercise with another mock draft. Then we'll see where that takes us on this iteration.
"Needless to say, we're having more meetings than we would typically have in a year without expansion, because we have two drafts to take care of, and we're trying to be completely prepared far in advance of the actual event. It's best to meet now and understand what we don't know yet, rather than having any surprises at the end."
RELATED: Is millennial culture improving the NHL's quality of play?
The "end" refers to this June, with the Expansion Draft taking place from June 18-20 and Entry Draft going from June 23-24. This busy stretch also includes free agency, which annually begins on July 1, although the Golden Knights will have an exclusive 48-hour window to negotiate with established free agents prior to the Expansion Draft.
Should Vegas sign an established free agent from another NHL team during this window, this player joining the Golden Knights would negate his former club from losing an additional player in the Expansion Draft.
Including McPhee, the Golden Knights' hockey operations staff has 28 members.