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Golden Knights could hire coach this season

General manager George McPhee says Vegas has 'short list' of candidates

NHL.com @NHL

The Vegas Golden Knights are closing in on hiring their first coach and could do so this season.

General manager George McPhee told Sportsnet 590 on Tuesday that recent events could lead to a coach being named sooner than expected.

"I wouldn't rule [having a coach before the season ends] out but our plan all along was to take our time," McPhee said, "but in this business sometimes you don't have that kind of time."

"We didn't want to get to April and not have interviewed anyone, and try to do it all at once. When the opportunities were there, we were talking to people. There was some discussion that it might happen before the end of this season."
McPhee wouldn't list or say how many candidates he's talked to, but Jack Capuano, who was fired by the New York Islanders on Jan. 17, and Gerard Gallant, who was fired by the Florida Panthers on Nov. 27, have reportedly interviewed for the job. Ken Hitchcock, fired by the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 1, could be another candidate.

"It's been a short list and it will stay a short list," McPhee said. "We identified people we thought would be really good coaches here initially that would get us through some difficult times right off the bat and then also would be the same guy that would hopefully lead us to a championship one day."

McPhee also said he and Golden Knights executiveshave been planning for NHL Expansion Draft, which will take place June 18-20. The Vegas roster will be announced June 21, and the Golden Knights will begin play with the 2017-18 season.

"The first time through, we had to get really comfortable with the rules and make sure we understood them and we had a lot of questions for the League," McPhee said. "A lot of those have been answered. … And then we got into in the next couple of mock drafts, more specificity with teams and knowing their players better and getting to know our own staff better. We've only been together for six months. You want to develop some chemistry in the way we work together. I think we are going along pretty well now."

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