Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee says there is no rift between the organization and Russian center Vadim Shipachyov, disputing a report from earlier in the day.
Shipachyov, who was assigned to the AHL’s Chicago Wolves on Tuesday, has not reported to the Wolves since being sent down from the big club. McPhee said Monday that the designation of Shipachyov, Shea Theodore and Alex Tuch was more of a numbers issue, rather than personnel.
McPhee said all three are NHL-caliber players and should be with the Golden Knights.
“I do not have a specific date when that will change,” McPhee said, “but we are working on things.”
In short, that means it’s unclear when Shipachyov will be on the Vegas roster, but it’s happening.
Shipachyov did not play in the Wolves’ first two games against the Texas Stars because he was in Las Vegas with his wife. He reported to Chicago but flew back to Las Vegas.
Shipachyov will not play for the Wolves for the time being, McPhee said.
McPhee has been in constant contact with Shipachyov and his agent throughout this process. The general manager said when the 30-year-old center was sent down to Chicago, he didn’t understand the move at first, but has since come around to the decision.
“This is a roster move that’s not about performance,” McPhee said. “The three guys we sent down have all earned the right to be here, and we’ll get them here at the right time or as soon as we can.”
McPhee was asked about the report from KHL insider Alvis Kalnins, stating Shipachyov is upset with the organization and how he plans to go back to the KHL. McPhee said this is false because, “he’s under contract with us.”
Summary of Vadim Shipachyov and his situation with the Golden Knights. pic.twitter.com/bp5uTgz4Qf— Aivis Kalniņš (@A_Kalnins) October 9, 2017
Shipachyov’s agent also denied he wants to go back to Russia, per Darren Dreger of TSN.
Shipachyov is just months removed from a 26-goal, 76-point campaign with SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL.
Now that we know the situation, that rules out two possibilities: Either he has failed to adjust to the North American ice and still needs time to fine-tune his game, or the Golden Knights simply believe players like Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and William Carrier are more valuable to the team.
Shipachyov’s contract with the Knights has an average annual value of $4.5 million over the next two seasons. By sending him down to the AHL, the Knights are saving themselves no money and are choosing to let the player who should be playing a large role on their NHL club sit out. McPhee said he doesn’t anticipate Shipachyov playing in any of the upcoming games, ruling out at least Tuesday’s home opener against Arizona, but this is still a weird situation.