Editorials

New York Islanders have a Friend in Vegas

Jun 22, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Bill Foley walks the red carpet during the 2016 NHL Awards at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 22, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Bill Foley walks the red carpet during the 2016 NHL Awards at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports /
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The New York Islanders already have a direct connection to the new management structure of the Las Vegas expansion team. And in the hyper-competitive world of NHL hockey, interpersonal relationships are key.

In September of 2015, the New York Islanders named former Washington Capitals GM George McPhee as a special advisor to Garth Snow. The move was a formalization of McPhee’s work with the organization.

As early as December 2014 , Elliotte Friedman reported that McPhee was scouting for the islanders in the Michigan area.

Giving McPhee a formal title gave him more responsibility and kept him involved in the game. Something he won’t readily forget when and if Snow comes calling.

Let’s make one thing clear, George McPhee owes nothing to the Islanders. He repaid the organization by providing advisory services for our team. You won’t see a very Isles favorable trade in the coming months.

What it does mean is the Islanders can add a friendly connection to their Rolodex. A team that will be willing to deal, and deal fairly with them in the coming months and years.

McPhee as a Friend

Everyone needs a friend. NHL teams aren’t exempted from this. Just look at the most recent trade deadline. The Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars had a deal worked out for Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis, only for ownership to nix it because of some bad blood with Dallas ownership.

That’s the kind of thing you want to avoid. Letting personal politics get in the way of improving your club. The Canucks in this case, kept pending free agent Dan Hamhuis for the remainder of the year. And Hamhuis later left for the Stars in free agency.

Dallas eventually got their player, although they had to suffer a playoff run with Kris Russell as a substitute. The Canucks gained nothing from the situation. They were unable to offload an aging Hamhuis for a trio of prospects and picks. And then lost the player a few months later.

Building bridges is better than burning them. Making friends is better than making enemies because enemies don’t want to trade with you. I can go on with the hyperbolic jibber-jabber about harvesting relationships.

The new Las Vegas team is going to need more than the expansion draft to mold and shape its roster. And it’s likely that they may have an asset or two that may interest the Islanders down the line. Having an open channel of communication with McPhee gets the ball rolling on any sort of deal.

Next: Snow Admits Mistake Playing Strome at Wing

Don’t undercut interpersonal relationships in the NHL. GMs with good relationships are more likely to help each other out. Crafting these positive interpersonal relationships is a key for success.

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