It has long been assumed that Golden Knights mastermind George McPhee would be a lock for the General Manager of the Year award. That assumption became a reality Wednesday night as McPhee officially took home the award at the 2018 NHL Awards.
Primarily through last summer’s expansion draft, McPhee constructed a team that had a historic inaugural campaign. The Knights posted a Pacific Division-best 51-24-7 record in the regular season and followed that up with an incredible trip to the Stanley Cup Final, which included a first-round sweep of the Los Angeles Kings and series wins against the San Jose Sharks and Winnipeg Jets.
The Knights broke almost every record in the books in the most successful inaugural season in the modern era of sports, and McPhee’s shrewd judgment in the expansion draft and in the months that followed played a huge role in that success. McPhee also brought in head coach Gerard Gallant, who was pivotal to the Knights’ unprecedented run.
Notably, McPhee was able to take advantage of the expansion process to acquire Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith from Florida, Erik Haula and Alex Tuch from Minnesota and Shea Theodore from Anaheim. He also exhibited great vision in taking players like William Karlsson, who was one of eleven Knights to reach career highs in points this season.
Though some of his trade deadline deals may have been questionable, it’s difficult to argue with the overall season results considering the Knights fell just three wins short of winning the Stanley Cup.
McPhee will be busy in the coming weeks with the 2018 NHL Entry Draft as well as free agency fast approaching, but the recognition for his remarkable year is well-deserved.
Winnipeg’s Kevin Cheveldayoff and Tampa Bay’s Steve Yzerman were also nominated for the award.