Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee should be an awfully proud man.
Not only is McPhee primed to win GM of the year - and go down in history - for being the architect of the best expansion team in any sport, but he's also largely responsible for constructing the roster that will take the visitors' side of the rink at T-Mobile Arena on Monday night.
McPhee was GM of the Washington Capitals from 1997-98 until the 2013-14 campaign. He built a perennial regular-season juggernaut in D.C., but postseason failures, missing the playoffs in his final year, and the horrendous Filip Forsberg-for-Martin Erat trade ultimately led to his demise.
However, he acquired the majority of the Capitals team in place today, mostly through the draft.
|Alex Ovechkin||'04 Draft 1st rd (1st)|
|Nicklas Backstrom||'06 Draft 1st rd (4th)|
|Jay Beagle||'07 Undrafted free agent|
|John Carlson||'08 Draft 1st rd (27th)|
|Braden Holtby||'08 Draft 4th rd (93rd)|
|Dmitry Orlov||'09 Draft 2nd rd (55th)|
|Evgeny Kuznetsov||'10 Draft 1st rd (26th)|
|Philipp Grubauer||'10 Draft 4th rd (112th)|
|Travis Boyd||'11 Draft 6th rd (177th)|
|Tom Wilson||'12 Draft 1st rd (16th)|
|Chandler Stephenson||'12 Draft 3rd rd (77th)|
|Christian Djoos||'12 Draft 7th rd (195th)|
|Andre Burakovsky||'13 Draft 1st rd (23rd)|
|Madison Bowey||'13 Draft 2nd rd (53rd)|
McPhee's ability to hit on first-round picks is uncanny. While nearly any GM can make a good selection in the top five, he's made shrewd picks in the latter half of the first round, which is what makes or breaks an organization.
As an encore, McPhee's found legitimate NHLers beyond the first round too. In the salary-cap era, having cheap, homegrown players to surround your core is crucial for building a winning team.
Current Capitals GM Brian MacLellan deserves a large amount of credit, too. While McPhee was in charge, MacLellan was his right-hand man, serving as a pro scout, then director of player personnel, then as assistant GM for seven seasons before taking the reins when the team didn't renew McPhee's contract.
The two combined to build a perennial powerhouse in Washington. McPhee appears well on his way to doing so again in Vegas, and now the former coworkers will meet in the Stanley Cup Final.