It appears there was a very good reason the Edmonton Oilers were not granted permission to speak with Kelly McCrimmon as they were interviewing candidates for the new General Manager position in Edmonton. That’s because the Vegas Golden Knights had plans of their own.
On Thursday it was announced that McCrimmon was going to move into the GM position is Vegas while George McPhee would go from the GM role to President of Hockey Operations.
The Golden Knights Announcement
The Vegas Golden Knights official Twitter account (one of the best in hockey, by the way) made the announcement on social media by saying, “The Band is Staying Together!” They added that McCrimmon’s new role of GM would become effective September 1, 2019, and McPhee would still run the team as GM until that time. McPhee would officially be taking the Golden Knights through the NHL Entry Draft and Free Agency period this summer and McCrimmon would take the reigns from there.
It is being reported that this decision was made on Friday by McPhee, he took it to franchise ownership on Saturday and the move was approved with the offer made at the start of this week. It is also being reported McCrimmon turned down multiple NHL organizations for similar management roles before committing to Vegas.
One of Those Teams Was the Edmonton Oilers
Part of the big news here is that not only did Vegas make a major change but they stopped another organization(s) from making one.
The Edmonton Oilers were interviewing for a new GM and McCrimmon was thought to be high on their list. Vegas would not grant the Oilers an interview and the reasoning is now clear as to why.
With the buzz surrounding McCrimmon, it’s no wonder this announcement is coming now. Vegas was not interested in losing their assistant GM and a man who brought several hockey people with him to the Golden Knights organization. A high-character person, Vegas keeps a man who was a strong GM candidate for any organization and with teams looking to have GM’s move to hockey operations positions, Vegas won’t need to now find another candidate with their man in place for the next many seasons.
The Oilers will now likely move on to other candidates, a list that includes names like Mark Hunter, Pat Verbeek and even Ken Holland.
What’s Next for Vegas?
The question now becomes, ‘What will Vegas do and who will pull the trigger on a lot of the moves the team is about to make?’
It’s no secret that McCrimmon had a big hand in putting the current group of players together. From expansion to their second regular season success, it’s one of the many reasons he was such a popular choice for GM around the NHL. But, Vegas saw its first real disappointment this season when they were outed from the first round of the playoffs. Change is coming.
Will it be McCrimmon or McPhee that moves names like Cody Eakin, Ryan Reaves or tries to get William Karlsson’s long-term deal done? Technically, that job is still McPhee’s to do, but for McCrimmon, he’ll certainly want to have some say as to who the team keeps and who they lose moving forward.
There has been no report on the financials of the new deal but one of the pluses with signing in Vegas is the tax savings that come with working there. That likely played a factor in McCrimmon’s decision to stay put as well.