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Golden Knights preparing for first training camp

GM McPhee looking forward to getting 'good feel for our players' in 'critical step' toward shaping lineup

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PLYMOUTH, Mich. -- The Vegas Golden Knights and general manager George McPhee are finalizing details for their first training camp, which begins Sept. 14.

But unlike with an established team, the Golden Knights roster is a bunch of puzzle pieces waiting to see if they can be assembled the right way.

Vegas began the process by signing free agent forwards Reid Duke and Vadim Shipachev, and selecting 30 players in the NHL Expansion Draft on June 21. The Golden Knights also were active in the trade and free agent markets.

 

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"The other thing we have to do at our training camp that most clubs don't have to do is really get a good feel for our players," McPhee said at the World Junior Summer Showcase on Tuesday. "We claimed a bunch of players, we've signed players. But you really don't know players until you work with them. For us we have a lot of new players."

This will be McPhee's 18th training camp as a GM, after spending 17 seasons with the Washington Capitals (1997-2014). But he said this could be the most exciting one for him.

"We're really looking forward to it," he said. "We worked hard last year, we thought we did a lot of good things. We just have to keep building. We're not rebuilding an organization, we're building an organization. And every step feels like a critical step. As long as we keep passing the test we'll be OK.

"It's still very exciting and stimulating for all of us. And it's still really exciting with all this going on in Vegas. We seem to have announcements every other day about various things. It's been a very enjoyable year of hockey and we're looking forward to more."

McPhee is watching players and talking to scouts, the same as he has in past summers. It's a return to normalcy for the GM of the newest NHL team, which will make its debut this season.

"We're at that point where it does feel more normal than the first year," McPhee said. "We're in to a pretty good rhythm right now, same rhythm as most clubs."

That includes four players taking part in the Summer Showcase. The Golden Knights' first four selections in the 2017 NHL Draft are taking part in practices and games at USA Hockey Arena, Canada forwards Cody Glass (No. 5) and Nick Suzuki (No. 13), and defenseman Nicolas Hague (No. 34), and Sweden defenseman Erik Brannstrom (No. 15).

"The more you see of them the more you know," McPhee said. "We're trying to watch them. We're also trying to figure out all the other players on the ice too. You may be trading for one of them one day. It's always good to have a book on them. You're always trying to know as much about the players in the game as you can. This is an opportunity for three or four days in the summer to come in and get a good look at players. There's a lot of good players in one place. It's hard for managers to do this in-season. To have the opportunity to do it now really helps in our understanding of what's out there."

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