Vegas GM holds many cards ahead of the trade deadline

Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee is going to be a popular man throughout the month of February, as other GMs try to get hints about who he's going to take -- and who he can be swayed not to take -- in the expansion draft. Josh Holmberg/Icon Sportswire

For most of this season, the Vegas front office has been left alone to quietly plan its strategy for entering the league next season. They’ve been diligently scouting games, planning for both the expansion draft and the entry draft, mostly in the background.

But with the NHL’s trade deadline closing in, the phone is starting to ring. At least six NHL teams have reached out to Vegas to try to gather information that might help shape their approach to the trade deadline. The expectation is that number will get much higher as teams divide into buyers and sellers before the deadline.

It’s smart, really. If a team thinks they’re going to lose a player to Vegas, maybe there’s more motivation to make a move now. And what better way to get a sense of the Golden Knights' strategy than to call the Golden Knights?

“Everyone is trying to find the tipping point to dealing assets to protect players,” said one GM. “What’s it going to cost to have [Vegas GM] George [McPhee] leave a player alone versus trading an unprotected player for assets now?”