The NHL expansion franchise in Las Vegas is about to land an architect.
Owner Bill Foley says he will name the team’s first general manager at a press conference at T-Mobile Arena on Wed. Jul 13 at 4 p.m. Eastern time. It is expected that former George McPhee will be tabbed for the job.
McPhee served as the GM of the Washington Capitals from 1997-2014. His teams claimed seven division championships and a Presidents' Trophy but lost in their only trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 1998.
The Capitals drafted Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Braden Holtby, John Carlson and Evgeny Kuzentsov under his watch.
He spent the 2015-16 season serving as a special advisor to general manager Garth Snow of the New York Islanders.
Prior to the leak, Foley extolled the virtues of the selection process.
"We’ve got two primary candidates,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Monday. “We need to get a scouting staff hired and whoever we hire as our GM will be responsible for putting the [scouting] staff together."
Foley wouldn’t reveal the names of the finalists but said he was impressed by the quality of the seven applicants he interviewed for the job. “I can tell you the people we talked to are all well-known in the hockey community and are well-respected,” he said. “They’re all very smart and they’ve done different things for different teams. Some are strong on the [salary] cap. Some are strong when it comes to assessing talent. But they all have strong backgrounds.”
Among the names believed to be in the running: Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM Jason Botterill (whose career path with the Pens was blocked by the re-signing of GM Jim Rutherford to a three-year extension last week); Montreal assistant GM Scott Mellanby; Dallas Stars assistant GM Les Jackson; Nashville Predators assistant GM Paul Fenton; Los Angeles Kings assistant GM Mike Futa; and former Arizona Coyotes GM Don Maloney.
One well-known name not in the running is former Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon. “We never talked,” Tallon told the paper. “I know he asked my owner for permission and he was given it. They’re both West Point guys. But I never heard from Mr. Foley.”
The paper also said that Chicago Blackhawks assistant GM Norm Maciver was not one of the seven.
Foley also said that the team's nickname and logo are on schedule for an October reveal.
“We’ve got two or three really good names that we’re seriously considering,” he said. “Adidas [the league's jersey manufacturer, is] very talented when it comes to design and they’ve been great. Same with the NHL. They’ve been extremely helpful.
“Our biggest problem is trademarks. Some of the names have trademarks and you have to go to those people and see what they have and we’re working through that.”