Numerous reports suggest that George McPhee will be the first ever GM for the expansion Las Vegas NHL team. The current Special Advisor to New York Islanders GM Garth Snow was the Washington Capitals GM for 17 years from ’97-’98 to ’13-’14.
As we reported earlier, McPhee represents the experienced choice. He was Vice President of Hockey Operations with the Vancouver Canucks from ’92-’94 before taking the Capitals GM job. He then led Washington to its first and only Stanley Cup Finals appearance, alongside seven top finishes in the team’s division. He’s helmed the Capitals through two successful eras punctuated by a rebuilding period in the early 2000’s. McPhee will have a lot on his plate in the coming weeks. Not only does he have to start building up a prospect pool from scratch, but he has to oversee the hiring of scouts, assistants, coaches, and support staff.
The unnamed Las Vegas Team’s decision to choose the experienced candidate is wise. As Ken Campbell of the Hockey News writes, six out of the last nine expansion teams chose an experienced GM (Minnesota, Nashville, San Jose, Anaheim, Florida, and Tampa Bay), and the three that did not (Columbus, Atlanta, and Ottawa) fared significantly worse out of the gate. Most notably was Ottawa’s Mel Bridgeman, who chose ineligible players three consecutive times during the Senators’ expansion draft.