Today Golden Knigths General Manager George McPhee took time out of his day and shared is his thoughts of their newest acquisition Vadim Shipachyov who signed with the franchise last night in 2-year deal worth $9 million and an AAV of $4.5 million per season.
The 30 year old veteran has been having a tremendous hockey career in the KHL. He is coming off of a championship season with SKA St. Peterburg as the playmaking specialist scored 26 goals and pitched in with 50 assists for 76 points.
With the Shipachyov signing could indeed open the door for the Golden Knights to sign more players in the coming weeks. McPhee echoed during today’s conference call on what it means for the organization with the potential at adding players
“I think it could have that effect,” McPhee said with the media. “I hadn’t thought of it when we signed him. But it could lead the way for other free agents.”
Earlier today is was reported by Igor Eronko that Vegas was also in pursuit of bringing on Evgeni Dadonov who also played with Shipachyov last season with SKA St. Peterburg.
For McPhee he is no stranger when going after Russian Hockey players. He highlighted the experience with Sergei Gonchar, Sergei Fedorov, Dimitry Orlov and of course the franchise player he selected when he was the General Manager of the Washington during the 2004 NHL Entry Draft Alexander Ovechkin at 1st overall.
McPhee took the time on the conference call to reports out regarding Vegas being in the mix for Dadonov services.
“We’ve had conversations with him,” McPhee echoed on Dadonov, “Had 66 points in 53 games this season for the Kontinental Hockey League champions. “But I don’t know if he’s willing to come over and sign with us or another NHL team.” McPhee continued.
The would be a great pick up for the Golden Knights because as McPhee talked about is having familiarity on your roster. Currently on the Washington Capitals the have three Russian born hockey players in their lineup with Ovechkin, Orlov and Evgeny Kuznetsov.
With Tampa Bay they too on their current roster have three of their own in Andrei Vasilevskiy, Vladislav Namestnikov, and Nikita Kucherov.
McPhee also highlighted that since Nevada doesn’t have a state income tax that attracting free agents to come play in Vegas could make it a destination landing spot when they grabbed Shipachyov.
“Team services person in place to help of all our players and families and will have a welcome package and relocation package all setup so that it’s seamless for players and their families to come to Las Vegas.” McPhee echoed. “The opportunity appeal to him to come to Vegas, he’s prepared to play alot and see’s opportunity for ice time.” McPhee added on Shipachyov.
McPhee stressed that when Shipachyov hits the ice for the first ever training camp of the Gloden Knights that promises for ice time mean zero.
“I’ve never promised any player that he’d start or how much he would play.” McPhee mentioned. “You have to earn your minutes.” McPhee continued
Nothing in the sport of hockey is ever given away for free, you want to make the opening night roster you’ll need to put the time and work in to earn your keep.
With the recent success of Chicago Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin is having the NHL McPhee hopes that Shipachyov will have that in time.
“If can be anywhere close to what Panarin’s done it would be one heck of a signing, were really pleased that we signed this player because he has that upside.” McPhee spoke on signing Shipachyov.
“All the analysis that we done on this player whether it’s pure scouting, eye ball test, the ratings were very good and then the analysis we did on him in numbers shows that he’s been a very very productive player in that league, that should resonate in our league.” McPhee added
In terms of where Shipachyov plays in the lineup McPhee echoed where he feels that he can be slotted in at.
We see him as a top-six forward and someone who will help us on the power play,” McPhee said.
McPhee made mentioned that he believes that Shipachyov is ready to play in the NHL with the 82 game grinding season that includes the speed, the physicality and grit.
“This is a player who is ready to play in the NHL. It’s time for him to play in this league and we’re excited he’ll be playing for us.” McPhee said.