Foley raves about McPhee’s work (so far) with Vegas expansion team

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We await the highly anticipated announcement of the team name for the Las Vegas NHL franchise. That is supposedly happening in November.

But while chatter about potential ideas for a team name created plenty of headlines during the summer, general manager George McPhee has been busy making additions to the front office and hockey operations department in preparation for the start of the 2017-18 season, the team’s first in the league.

A review:

— They hired Kelly McCrimmon as the assistant GM.

— Former Capitals scout Wil Nichol was named director of player development.

— Misha Donskov, formerly with Hockey Canada, was named director of hockey operations.

— Vaughn Karpan was brought in as the new director of player personnel

— After getting let go from the Florida Panthers, Scott Luce was hired to be director of amateur scouting for Las Vegas.

It’s early in the process. McPhee hasn’t even been on the job for three full months yet. But he’s earned rave reviews so far from owner Bill Foley.

“I think (McPhee) is really focused,” Foley told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “He’s doing exactly what I want — build the hockey side of things. He’s hiring great hockey people. I’m really pleased. This will be a successful team. George is everything I wanted as a general manager.”

One of the next tasks for McPhee will be to hire a new head coach.

He can afford to wait a little bit to see if potential candidates become available during or after the regular season and playoffs.

“A coach has to obviously understand the X’s and O’s, but more importantly he has to be someone the players really respect, not only as a coach but as a person,” said McPhee in the summer.

“You want a guy that’s a lot of things: smart, approachable, unflappable, confident, hard-working, organized, all of those things. Good with the community, good with the media. That’s the sort of thing we’ll be looking for.”