LAS VEGAS, NV—George McPhee, General Manager of the Vegas Golden Knights, asserted that team officials are “not fooling around” when it comes to closing deals with players in the 2017 NHL Draft.

30 year-old center Vadim Shipachyov ranked third in scoring attained 50 assists, as well as 76 points in 50 games in the Kontinental Hockey League
Vadim Shipachyov ranked third in scoring and attained 50 assists, as well as 76 points in 50 games in the Kontinental Hockey League.

The team signed Russian free agent Vadim Shipachyov, who plays center, to a two-year contract for $9 million last week, and McPhee, who holds $68.5 million in salary-cap space, has stated that he intends to “build a winner.”

McPhee, who previously served as the GM for the Washington Capitals, has a desire to cultivate a team that has “everything– talent, depth, size, grit, speed, all of that. Can we do it all in Year 1? I don’t know, but we’re going to try.”

In an interview with The Toronto Star, McPhee shared that, although he “didn’t need it,” he chose to serve as a GM again to have a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup.

When asked about the differences between serving as the GM for an existing team versus a developing one, McPhee answered:

“You’re spending so much time setting up your organization. You don’t have games to be worried about with your own club, wins or losses. You are completely focussed on building. You have this race against the clock to get all of these things completed so that you’re as prepared as you can be to start competing in October.”

In the NHL expansion draft, which is set to take place on June 21 this year, each team is allowed to secure seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie, or eight skaters, consisting of both forwards and defensemen, and one goalie.

ESPN stated that the Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, and San Jose Sharks “might try enticing” McPhee to make deals with some of their players in the upcoming draft.

McPhee told The Star, “We’d like to really leave the deal-making until we get to expansion. Probably better to see the whole universe of who is going to be exposed before we make too many decisions.”