Think of George McPhee and Kelly McCrimmon as really organized people who get all their Christmas shopping done about half a year early. They get fair prices, better selection and peace of mind. They also don't follow the market. They set it.
Mark Stone was the most coveted player at the trade deadline and if Vegas hadn't acquired him when they did in February, they would have been after him today. The difference being they wouldn't have controlled the process and would have had 30 other teams potentially vying for the elite winger's services. The price very well could have been higher than the $9.5 average annual value the two sides agreed upon. The New York Rangers paid winger Artemi Panarin $81.5 million over seven years with an AAV of $11.64 million.
Vegas got its work done well in advance of what one TV network has labeled "Free Agent Frenzy." July 1 is the day GMs make their biggest mistakes. Free agency is a tool for addressing a need such as Vegas did last summer with Paul Stastny. They identified a need and a player and then signed him to a very palatable three-year contract. The Golden Knights didn't overextend themselves and look for free agency to be a panacea.
The Golden Knights have been insistent on setting their own market. In the last two years they have done long-term deals with Stone, Marc-Andre Fleury, Stastny, Max Pacioretty, Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, Alex Tuch, Nate Schmidt, Brayden McNabb and Shea Theodore.
None of those players earn more than $10 million and seven of them are under 30. Vegas may have brushed up against the cap this season due to bringing on so much new money in such a short period of time but they'll soon have lots of flexibility as the cap rises and the club's salary costs for the most part remaining fixed.
McPhee and McCrimmon will use free agency again in the future but they've worked hard to make sure it's for complementary pieces. An add here or an add there.
The club just hosted its third development camp and is now on the verge of bringing some of its very own drafted and developed players to the NHL. More will come and soon this will be the club's No. 1 stream of players.
The goal is to never be backed into a corner on July 1 and forced to chase the market. That's where Vegas was today and the plan will be to be in similar position going forward with free agency used for cosmetic surgery rather than reconstructive.
The Golden Knights did announce to deals on Monday signing Tomas Nosek to a one-year deal for $1 million and Brandon Pirri agreeing to a two-year deal with an AAV of $775,000.
Vegas and Deryk Engelland have agreed in principle to a contract but are still working on structure.