"I think everybody does what they need to do," the Washington Capitals general manager said at the team's practice facility late Wednesday afternoon. "There are some years where it doesn't makes sense to do anything."
This wasn't one of those years. McPhee is running a team that has the best record in the league and is captained by Alex Ovechkin, who could very well win his third consecutive MVP. It's the supporting cast -- or rather that cast's grit and depth -- that led McPhee to pick up the phone and make the Capitals one of the most active teams before the deadline.
He added a protagonist (forward Scott Walker, right, from Carolina), a solid defenseman (Joe Corvo from Carolina), a versatile forward (Eric Belanger from Minnesoate) and reacquired a towering blue liner (Milan Jurcina from Columbus).
The most McPhee had to give up was a second-rounder for Belanger and one everyday player (Brain Pothier) along with a prospect for Corvo. Not a steep price to pay for franchise that seems to always have a stream of youngsters flowing in from AHL's Hershey (Pa.) Bears.
These moves for exclusively unrestricted free agents were all low-risk acquisitions for McPhee.
"We are a good team now and, based on what we have done today, we are going to be a good team when we come back in September," McPhee said. "This was the last day before the store closes. If you need milk or bread or whatever, you'd like to get it."
As expected, one of the staples was a defenseman or two.
"To be honest with you," Corvo said, "I thought they were pretty solid. To look where they were at the end of last year and where they are at right now, I didn't think much needed to be added."
McPhee didn't build a team that will just challenge for the President's Trophy, an award that goes to the team with the best regular season record. Those in the locker room -- which has suddenly become a little more crowded with Wednesday's acquisitions -- are convinced they have a deep playoff run them, possibly even a bid for the franchise's first Stanley Cup.
To get there, Wednesday's moves suggest that the team will need more than the firepower Ovechkin, Mike Green, Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom -- especially if the team is saddled with a postseason injury or two.
"Things can change fast in the playoffs," Walker said referring to injuries. "You don't have one, two or three weeks for guys to heal up from bumps and bruises."
"We are happy with our goaltending," McPhee said. "We have experience with Jose. Varly did a great job last year and Neuvirth is right there. People asked a lot about them, but they were untouchable."